Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Movie Review - Don Jon!

Happy Wednesday!

Time for a movie review!

I am an avid visitor in the movie theatres and as with books, I do enjoy different types of movies. I went to see Don Jon yesterday and I have to admit, it was a very nice and positive surprise for me. I really liked the movie and here is the review.


Title: Don Jon
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Screenwriter: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Production: Voltage Pictures, HitRecord films, Ram Bergman Productions
Genre: Adult: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Length: 90 minutes
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julianne Moore, Scarlett Johansson

Summary:

A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love. (Source: IMDB)

My review:

Don Jon was funny, sincere, entertaining and thought-awakening movie!

Now, let's start with the word thought-awakening. When you watch the trailer, you get an impression that the movie is about a guy who likes porn better than sex and about a girl who has an impression, that life is nothing but a good Hollywood romance movie . It definitely is, but the topics touched in this movie go far beyond and deeper than that.

Plot:

Meet Don Jon: single, handsome guy who can get any girl he wants and who likes simple things in his life. Like he says in the beginning of the movie: "There's only a few things I really care about in life. My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls. My porn." He works out, drives his car, parties with friends, has sex with different woman every time he is out, jerks off while watching Internet porn and goes to church to get his redemption and meets with his family. His life has a specific rhythm, until he meets Barbara, "the most beautiful thing he's ever seen in his life". Jon can't wait to have sex with her, expecting the experience to be like a joyride straight to heaven. But it's not. The porn still remains; the porn is still a place where he gets his true release and where he loses himself to. Jon still does everything for her fulfilling her every single request. She even demands him not to speak about cleaning, because it's not sexy!

Everything is seemingly peachy, until Barbara and Jon find out few facts about each other when the reality hits the relationship. He is addicted to porn, his friends have disappeared, he takes classes which he has no interest in. She is only interested in a man doing EVERYTHING for her. (Obviously everything, except cleaning). There is no closeness, no intimacy in the relationship. He is in love, she is using it... and the rest is just empty. After the breakup, Jon is back on ground zero.

During his classes he meets another woman, Esther. Jon considers her weird in the beginning and does everything to avoid her. Until Barbara is gone. Until he opens up. Until he talks. Until he can be himself. Until he shows his vulnerability.

Screenwriting, directing and the cast:

I loved the story itself! I loved the honesty, the rawness of it. I enjoyed the dialogue and especially the voice of Jon. It was quirky and funny and sincere. Right to the point.

The visual part of the movie was edgy, quick, sharp and elegant. I think that the Internet porn scenes were elegantly cut together, it did not bother the eye and it did not take too much of space in the movie.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a very promising director work in Don Jon. He got the best out of the actors. I think that Scarlett Johansson as Barbara and Julianne Moore as Esther were great! The chemistry between the actors was visible and it at least seemed they enjoyed it a lot!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the main character seemed genuine and sincere, even with all his flaws he was very sympathetic. I liked that he showed the sweet side of Jon, he was actually a nice guy trying to change some parts of his life.

I truly enjoyed Scarlett Johansson. She played Barbara well, so Barbara was on the surface really sweet, a bell, a true classy beauty and then again a nasty, superficial gum-chewing selfish cold bitch. Her voice, her body language  - it was sexy, naive, funny, ugly and repugnant in the same time. She was a perfect choice for Barbara.

I have always admired Julianne Moore for the different roles she has played. In Don Jon, she was as good as ever.

I think the supportive characters did excellent job. Tony Danza was amusing as Jon Sr and Brie Larson as Monica was interesting, to say the least. The dynamics between the father and the son were good and the dialogue was funny. Brie Larson had only few lines to say, but her body language and facial impressions were very interesting to follow.

What did I like?

Why did I like the movie so much? Because for me, the porn itself had a secondary role. Don't get me wrong, it had an importance in the story and Don Jon movie raised questions about it, but the essence was about how distorting and overrated and ridiculous our ideas, our fantasies of relationships can be: A woman who is dreaming about the prince on a white horse who would fulfill all her wishes like in fairytale; a man who thinks that sex with a hot beautiful body can solve the issues of intimacy. Most of the people have a picture in their head how a relationship should be and the reality is different. I am not saying that the reality is different in a bad way. Not at all. Just different. It was also about giving and taking in a relationship, about being yourself in a relationship, about intimacy and about letting go.

What did I miss?

I missed couple of things in the movie, from the screenwriting perspective. It did not disturb me and it did not ruin the total movie experience and rating of the movie, but I kept asking couple of questions which I did not get the answers to. I would have wanted to know more of both Esther's and Barbara's background story, to get deeper into them and to understand them better.

Generally:

Go and watch it! It's funny, edgy and emotional movie.

5 Flowers!
 
5 stars.
 
(10 stars in IMDB)
 
Happy movie watching!
 
 


 

Books and the Art of Theft - Guest Post by Melodie Campbell!

Happy Wednesday!

I have a visitor today! An author, a friend from Canada and otherwise one wonderful woman - Melodie Campbell. Melodie wrote a guest post for Me and Reading. I have read her books and loved them all!

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the Melodie!




BOOKS AND THE ART OF THEFT

By Melodie Campbell

Puzzled by the title?  It’s simple.

In high school, I had to read Lord of the Flies, The Chrysalids, On the Beach, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and a whack of Shakespeare.

Yuck.  Way to kill the love of reading.  All sorts of preaching and moral crap in the first four.  (Which, as you will see by the end of this post, doesn’t suit me well.)

Torture, it was, having to read those dreary books, at a time when I was craving excitement.  Already, I had a slight rep for recklessness. (It was the admittedly questionable incident of burying the French class attendance sheet in the woods on Grouse Mountain, but I digress…)

And then we got to pick a ‘classic’ to read.  Groan.  Some savvy librarian took pity on me, and put a book in my hand. 

Ivanhoe.

Magic

A writer was born that day.

This is what books could be like!  Swashbuckling adventure with swords and horses, and imminent danger to yourself and virtue, from which – sometimes – you could not escape (poor Rebecca.) 

I was hooked, man.  And this book was written how long ago?  1820?

Occasionally, people will ask if a teacher had a special influence on me as a writer.  I say, sadly, no to that.

But a librarian did.  To this day, I won’t forget her, and that book, and what it caused me to do.

Write the swashbuckling medieval time travel Land’s End series, starting with the Top 100 bestseller Rowena Through the Wall. 
Steal a book.  Yes, this humble reader, unable to part with that beloved Ivanhoe, claimed to lose the book, and paid the fine.  Damn the guilt.  The book was mine.

Write The Goddaughter series, which has nothing to do with swashbuckling medieval adventure, and everything to do with theft.  Which, of course, I had personally experienced due to a book called Ivanhoe.

The lust for something you just have to have.  The willingness to take all sorts of risks way out of proportion, to possess that one thing.

A book like my own Rowena and the Dark Lord made me a thief at the age of sixteen.  And the experience of being a thief enticed me to write The Goddaughter’s Revenge, over thirty years later.

My entire writing career (200 publications, 8 awards) is because of Sir Walter Scott and one sympathetic librarian.  Thanks to you both, wherever you are.
 
Author info:

Melodie Campbell writes funny books. You can buy them at  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.  She lurks at www.melodiecampbell.com.

The one that started it all: ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL  
ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD  
THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE 
THE GODDAUGHTER
A PURSE TO DIE FOR 

 
Follow Melodie’s comic blog at  www.melodiecampbell.com
 

 
Thank you, Melodie, for the guest post!
Happy reading!

 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Domestic Violence Awareness - Share the Love! Jenn's story.

Happy Tuesday!

My post today is different. It's dark, it's sad and if you are weak-hearted, consider yourself being warned. We are talking about domestic violence, more specifically, I am posting the story of Jenn who was abused.




It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month and today I am helping Author Kristie Cook "Share the <3" by spreading awareness. We have a very special guest who is sharing her story of how she survived domestic violence.

~ ~ ~

My Story
Jenn

I’ve decided recently that I’m going to become a rape crisis counselor/advocate. When I was raped, assaulted, whatever you want to call it (as it was ongoing), I never told anyone. I was 14 and I was terrified that he would make good on the threats that he told me. He certainly made good on the ones that involved me and my best friend, so how was I to know he wouldn’t hurt my family or my animals?
It was ridiculous and incredibly naive. So naive because my mother worked for the town’s police department. I don’t know if everyone was aware of just how sociopathic this kid was at 15 – and I do not say that lightly, I truly believe he is a sociopath – but I don’t think that anyone would have believed us just the same. He was the son of a preacher. Yup. Lost my virginity to the preacher’s son. The preacher’s son who was an absolute insane bastard.
Last time I talked to him, maybe five years ago, he still had the bed sheets that I bled on when I lost my virginity. He was charming up until the point I lost my virginity; after that, it was a whole different ballgame.
He dumped me the next day – yeah, that’s always good for the ego. Somehow turned my friends against me. Then after about maybe a month or so, because I was “so in love”, he and I started a friends with benefits situation, even though he was supposedly dating someone else – I didn’t care – and people told me that she looked like me. That should have been a red flag, though, but it wasn’t. Funny what you see in hindsight.
But it wasn’t friends with benefits. It was abuse. It was holding me with my back against him, knife to my throat while I was on the phone with a friend or parent, while he fingered me, challenging me to make a sound just so he could hurt me. Or chasing me around the house with the same knife.
I used to be a cutter – I wasn’t exactly the best at being discreet about it, I chose my inner wrists. I was never trying to commit suicides, I was just trying to get him to leave me alone and I thought, I guess, maybe if someone decided he was being bad influence or I wasn’t getting work done then it would stop.
It never did.
I remember my father confronting him once because he left a mark on my neck. I don’t remember if it was a hickey type mark or if it was from his hands being around my throat. Either way, my father definitely was stern with him and I remember being somewhat embarrassed that my father had acted that way (because I was a teenager, I was rebellious) but at the same time, incredibly, incredibly grateful. Then again, at the same time, dreadful because I knew those marks, those “claims” would only be made somewhere else on my body.
I believed his threats. Why? Because I was a stupid, silly, teenage girl.
I want to be a rape counselor/advocate to help women not make the same mistakes I did.
I waited years, YEARS, to file a report against the “man” who raped me. I believe I waited 8 years. When I went to give my statement, I experienced first-hand exactly why women don’t go to report rape or sexual assault – especially if they are having to report it to a male officer.
No, the officer was not immature, he was not rude or condescending. He just had this tone, this air, this aura, about him that made it quite clear that he believed he was wasting his time and was only there because he was asked to by the Chief to take the statement of the daughter of a longstanding member of the force.  I don’t know if I could have pressed charges – they never told me or gave me an option to.
I’m terrified that he’s going to find me, no matter where I move to, no matter where I live. I live in the middle of EBFnowhere  and I am still afraid every day that I’m going to see him. I had a full blown panic attack walking into a store that I go to nearly weekly because I saw someone who; 1. matched his height; 2. matched his voice; 3. matched his eyes; and that was all I allowed myself to see. I didn’t even get what I was in there to buy – I just ran out to my car as fast as I possibly could and sat in my car and cried and screamed. I was so panicked I couldn’t drive straight on my own so I had to call home and have my parents tell me ridiculous stories just to keep me distracted from all the memories that were rushing to the front of my mind.
My mother accuses me of dwelling on what happened. I don’t dwell on it. I try like hell not to even think about it. But it pops up – most often in my nightmares. Oh, Christ, so badly in my nightmares. I would give anything not to dream again if I could just not dream those dreams and the other subsequent dreams I have. He just turns into other men, which makes it seem like he could be anyone, which makes dating and such terrifying. I don’t much like that prospect.
Part of it, for me, is I think that if I could find him on some prison roster or sex offender list, I would feel better. But I haven’t found his name anywhere. It seems so unreal to me that he’s not been caught – at all – by anyone – yet. After all this time. Every time I look, I come up empty handed and I don’t like that feeling. I want to know where he is. I want the fucking monster locked up in a cage.
Even that’s too good, but it’ll have to do. They don’t accept my methods of justice around here.




~ ~ ~ 

If you or someone you know have questions about domestic violence or you want to know how you can help people like Jenn, visit www.TheHotline.org. And while you're there, Kristie and I hope you'll help by making a donation. Even just $5 can ensure one more call gets answered at The Hotline - an answer that could save a life. Then, email your receipt to publisher (at) angdora (dot) com for entries into Kristie's giveaway and you could win some cool prizes. Get more entries in the Rafflecopter below. For more details, head on over to Kristie's Share the <3 Giveaway.
Thanks for coming by and happy reading!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review of Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman!

Happy Sunday!

Christmas season is soon here and many authors are already publishing their interpretations of different Christmas stories. I really enjoy reading them and today I have the pleasure of posting a review of one of them - Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman.

Here is my review.


Author: Michele Gorman
Title: Christmas Carol
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Publishing date: 15th of September 2013
Genre: Adult: Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction, Novella, Satire
Pages: 106 pages
Source: From Notting Hill Press in exchange for an honest review.




One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends... And a very uncomfortable weekend.
Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like.
When she arrives for the weekend at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?
 

 
My review:
 
I love a good Christmas story and I don't mind if these stories are based on the classic Christmas stories. It's fun to read and these stories always make me missing Christmas. Luckily, the holiday season is not so far away, only few weeks. Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman was a quirky, witty and lovable short story!
The main character Carol hates Christmas and weddings and she needs to be locked in a mansion with 3 ex-boyfriends to set some perspective on her love-life, on her understanding of Christmas. I loved that the Scrooge was a female. The characters were enjoyable and I did not want this story to be ending. It could have been a full length Christmas novel and that is the only criticism - it ended too quickly!
 
Loved it! A very good holiday reading!
 
5 Flowers!
 
5 stars!
 
 
Michele on social media:
twitter: @expatdiaries

Thanks goes to Notting Hill Press for a review copy!
Happy reading!
 
 
 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

From Gods by Mary Ting - Review, Giveaway and Excerpt!

Happy Saturday!


Today is a very special day. One of my author friends whose books I have always read with great pleasure, has a birthday today! Besides that, I am participating in the blog tour of her latest book. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to author Mary Ting!

Before the review and giveaway, this is for Mary.

Mary, Happy Birthday! Lots of love and happiness and millions of readers!
 
 

 



Here is my review!


Author: Mary Ting
Title: From Gods
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Publishing date: 17th of October 2013
Genre: YA: Greek Mythology, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Urban
Pages: 304 pages
Source: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis:

Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day? It’s not from Mother Nature. It is most likely from Mason Grand, swoon-worthy demigod, one of Zeus’s descendants.

Skylar Rome is supposed to be having the best summer ever before she heads off to college.  Little did she know, her whole life was about to change while visiting her cousin. Nearly drowning at the beach due to unknown forces, one of the Grand brothers she’d just met, Mason, saves her life. Cool, collected, mysterious, and dangerously good-looking, Skylar is drawn to him from the start. Though she knows he is the type of guy good girls stayed away from, it seems he is always saving her life, and the attraction was inevitable.

Upon meeting the brothers, strange things begin to happen. When she accidentally kills one of the brothers, it throws her life into turmoil, as they search to find the answers. Implausibly, she gets caught up in a world of the descendants of ancient gods, all who have super powers. Not only is her discovery difficult to accept, evil beings are after her. Running out of time and running for her life, she must unravel a mystery. What do they want from her? Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will she find the answers, or will she die trying?


My review:

I think many readers who love Mary Ting's Crossroads Saga were curious to see, if they will love From Gods us much, because the expectations were high. I am no different, I was little afraid, if Fro Gods would be as good. It was was!

First of all, let me say, that I love Greek mythology and I tend to be quite critical on fantasy books based on Greek mythology. But Mary Ting delivered again! Not only that, but she created an interesting and well-written world which kept surprising me.

Plot:

Skylar is going to visit her cousin before attending a freshman year in the college. As usually, she visits her cousin and best friend Kayla and aunt Kelly. This summer is turning to be different from others.

On her way driving to her cousin, Skylar is stopped by police. At least, it seems to be the police. When Skylar starts working at the diner her aunt owns, the hot policeman shows up in the diner. The only weird thing is, that he is not a police and he claims, they have never met before. Skylar is disappointed, but the faith has other plans for both of them.

After Mason saves her life on the beach and Skylar sees creatures she never knew existed, the story takes a turn. Mason tells her the truth about who he and his brothers are. The only mystery remaining is, who is Skylar? Why does she see the creatures? Why is there electricity between them? Who are her parents?

I have to admit, that I had to raise my eyebrow more than once while reading, especially on the first part of it, being sceptical and thinking how does she author explains this or that. But the story fells to its place and makes sense the longer in you come to the story. It is a fresh view on the descendants of the Greek gods and I loved it!

Characters:

Skylar is quite a cautious and conservative young woman in my opinion. She sensed danger and had a strong intuition towards people causing her harm. I liked that she was not a right out kick-ass heroine and loved, that she was a strong and brave young woman.

My favorite supportive characters in the book are Nick and Kayla. I loved the dynamics between them.

Generally:

I highly recommend From Gods by Mary Ting. Read it! It's worth of your time for sure!


5 Flowers!
5 stars.

Tanks for Mary for providing me with the review copy!


 

Bio: 
 
Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.
 
 
Teaser:
Tap! Tap! Tap!
Skylar jumped, startled by the sound. “Sorry officer,” she whimpered, starting the engine just to roll down the window and then quickly shutting it off again. The flashlight shone brightly, blocking her view, but she got a breath of the hot, sticky air that clung to her skin. Having the air conditioner on in her car, she had forgotten how hot it was. Even at night, the weather was intolerable.
Hoping not to offend him or her, she moved a little to the left and got a clear view of his gorgeous, young face. With instant combustion, her heart fluttered a mile a minute and her stomach churned nervously. She felt her face grow hot as she flushed and the temperature in her body shot up, either from the sight of him or the searing weather…perhaps the combination of both. Whatever it was, he was the gravity pulling her in. She was wrapped in his invisible force, visually taking all of his hotness in, and she was almost sure he was looking back at her with the same intensity. Breathe…breathe…exhale.
She had heard of love at first sight, but this was more like lust at first sight. What is wrong with me? Stop staring! Sheepishly, she unglued her eyes from his beautiful greenish blue ones; she couldn’t tell exactly what color they were. Trying not to stare, she saw a pearl drop of sweat trickle down from his hairline. She didn’t want to look into his eyes again, for fear she may get lost in them and not be able to look away.
Shifting her view, she focused on his uniform that fit perfectly to the curve of his muscles. His clean-shaven face brought out his high cheekbones, and every part of him looked flawless, from his hair to his broad shoulders, and all the way down as far as she could see. She had seen good-looking cops, mostly on television, but for goodness sake…sizzle!
“Could I see your driver’s license?” he said flatly in his masculine low tone.
Pause. Even the tone of his voice made her heart race. Get a grip! Do you have a girl friend?
“Your driver’s license?”
Book links:

 


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Good luck and thanks for coming by!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: Grounded by R.K. Lilley

Hi all!

A new week, a new romance!




Author: R.K. Lilley 
Title: Grounded 
Series: Up In The Air #3 
Release date: 10th of February 2013 
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Contemporary, BDSM, Romance 
Published by: R.K. Lilley 
Pages: 380 pages in Kindle e-book format 
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle 

Summary:

James and Bianca’s story draws to a close in the explosive conclusion to the Up In The Air Trilogy. 

After a short but earnest courtship, Bianca can no longer deny her feelings for James, and though she’s tried her hardest, she can’t help but see that he cares deeply for her, as well. In a completely uncharacteristic move, she has put aside her misgivings and agreed to live with the enigmatic billionaire. Is her leap of faith the beginning of something wonderful, or is it too much, too fast?

As James and Bianca feel a growing need for each other that neither can deny, circumstances beyond their control intervene, trying to tear them apart. Amidst the ever mounting threat of a monster who wants Bianca dead, and the constant pitfalls of an indiscreet past that James can’t seem to escape, can these two passionate lovers manage to find their happily ever after?

Review:

I can’t believe I managed to stay till the end of the series! It made me so frustrated at times, but I couldn’t give up before I saw this to the sugar-overdose end. And while the finale really left my teeth rotting, I loved the closure and running-to-the-sunset feel of it.

Well, nothing major has changed in the last installment at first glance: James is still creepily, as in run the opposite way, adorable and lovable, Bianca annoys me with her jealousy and unreasonableness, Stephen is now officially 100% made of win not only 99% as in the previous books. BUT, to my absolute shock and delight the nonexistent plot has suddenly reared its miniature head! Only the top shows, but yes, there is something similar to an actual plotline in this. Most of it happens somewhere in the last 10% of the book though, but who cares, there is at last something going on that doesn’t necessarily include any intimate parts of James and Bianca. Also, there was a vast improvement in their relationship regarding feelings and the basis of their relationship was no longer only physical. 

Otherwise I’m still kind of turned off by the constant sex and I don’t mean a lot of description, but the almost 10 times they do it basically one after another in a short period of time mostly every time they meet. I just can’t believe you can be so energetic each time and there is no medication involved. Then again, I liked that the acts aren’t repeats of each other and there is lots of variety and imagination used.

I appreciated and loved the snippets shown from the relationship of Stephen and Javier and the couple of chapters from Stephen’s point of view. While I liked them a lot, it was too much of a tease to a potential new story and I’d be very disappointed if they don’t get their own book or at least a short story.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was the addition of other intriguing characters to the bunch whose stories I look forward to read. Tristan was definitely someone to look forward to, that naughty scoundrel.

Characters:

As much as I find James oddly charming he bordered on being a bully in this book to Bianca, he pulled the reigns tighter on her and I didn’t like where that was going. Especially since he took over not only her life, but spread his hold onto people close to her. Nevertheless, I still kind of like him and I try hard to convince myself that it’s not for superficial reasons, but who knows. The main point is that I don’t approve many of his decisions or actions, but I have a bit of understanding for them so I can’t totally condemn him.

While I liked Bianca in the first book, her appeal started to take a nosedive in the second and in the third I found her tiring. Apart from her looks, tragic past and love for kink, I didn’t see what was so amazing about her, she was incredibly boring, jaded, prejudiced, suspicious, seeing fault in others, not so much in herself, etc. I’m just sad she took that path since initially did like her as the heroine a lot. 

Overall:

Well, this is the end to the Up In The Air trilogy and for me it has been a quite steady ride. All three books are a three star read. There were many things that were positive and that kept me reading till the last word, but this series is in no way perfect, there is much to whine about. Despite everything, this is the first past Fifty Shades of Grey books trilogy I’ve been able to enjoy enough to finish, so that alone is a big deal.


3 stars!

LIIS

Share the Love! Giveaway and Donation for Domestic Violence Awareness with author Kristie Cook!

Happy Monday!

 
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Author Kristie Cook is asking us to "Share the <3"! 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men just in the United States have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime (Center for Disease Control statistics). You likely know someone who lives through this nightmare every day - a relative, a friend, a coworker or a neighbor down the street. Too many don't live. And too many children witness the violence to/between their parents - or are direct victims themselves.

Thankfully, help is available. Unfortunately, not enough people know whom they can call for help - safely and privately. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides this kind of secure resource, helping survivors of abuse do what they need to do to reach safety and restart their lives. I, along with Kristie, many other authors, bloggers and readers, ask you to join us in supporting The Hotline so it may continue to provide the refuge people need. Help us "Share the <3" because "all <3's deserve to feel safe."




If you can donate even $5 to The Hotline, you could be supporting one phone call that can save a life. And for each dollar you donate, you can be entered to win Kristie's Share the <3 Giveaway! Simply email your receipt(s) dated 10/1/2013 through 10/31/2013 to publisher (at) angdora (dot) com. There are other ways to enter, as well, in the Rafflecopter below.


You can win!!!


An Indie Book Nerd t-shirt signed by over 40 authors, including Kristie Cook, G.P. Ching, Tabatha Vargo, Tiffany King, Shelly Crane and Isaac Marion, author of Warm Bodies; Kristie Cook's Soul Savers and Book of Phoenix books signed; and a bag full of swag.

A bundle of Kristie's Soul Savers Series audiobooks, Books 1-5.

$25 gift card to Amazon, B&N or iTunes

So give what you can, email your receipt and gain extra entries below. The more you give, the better your chances of winning these amazing prizes. PLUS, Kristie will be matching all donation receipts, up to $1,000. So your donation will be doubled!

From Kristie and from me, thank you for your help and support! Think of all that can happen if we each "Share the <3" today.

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Happy supporting! And reading!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Hi all!

Another older first book of an already ended YA series!





Author: Julie Kagawa 
Title: The Iron King 
Series: The Iron Fey #1 
Release date: 1st of February 2011
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Fantasy, YA 
Published by: MIRA Ink 
Pages: 363 pages in Kindle e-book format 
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle 

Summary:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined. . . 

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school. . . or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth— that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.

Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face. . . and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Review:

Well, first of all, there are various reasons why this was an excellent YA book (despite me not particularly liking fairy-themed YA): the writing was skilled and colorful, the action was constant and there wasn’t one boring moment, the plot was straightforward and easy to follow but exciting, two swoony guys to appreciate without a love triangle to destroy everything (at least not anything solid at the moment thankfully). I also liked how vast and inventive the imagination used to build up this story was. The latter was one of the highlights to me.

The friendship between Puck and Meghan was also something to enjoy, there were like teasing siblings who secretly cared about each other heaps, but weren’t very keen to show feeling toward one another.

I also liked the ending, I would usually consider this sort of finale annoying, but for some reason it just creates buzz and excitement for the next book to come. It was very effective and final yet not final at the same time.

And I thought I’d never say it, but the fact that the romance wasn’t in my face contributed to the pros of this story. Between everything happening and all the issues and dangers it was nice to read about an attraction that wasn’t insta love and that actually worked well as a subtle plot line amongst the action-packed foreground.

Now for the aspects that didn’t have me cheering:

I couldn’t warm up to Meghan at all, she came across too cliché and stayed in 2D mode. Unhappy, poor and socially unpopular girl suddenly realizes she is something else than human, but instead of thinking that maybe, despite all the issues, it might be a something to appreciate at least a little or find slightly fascinating, she only starts thinking how shellfish her father and mother were and how her father and his court/world don’t really deserve much respect or consideration (the clothes issue) despite him trying to make sure that she was safe as possible through her life, etc etc. I don’t expect her to jump from joy, but she was straight out opposed without any thought. And some other of her reactions and actions were quite questionable to me as well. She was a damsel in distress.

I also couldn’t really understand how the iron fey were seen as so incredibly more evil, when the winter and summer fey themselves weren’t poster children for kindness and consideration, they could also be cruel, careless and selfish.

Characters:

I’ve already said that I didn’t really care for Meghan so let’s leave it at that.

Ash wasn’t in the story a lot when you think about it, he made his appearance quite late, he didn’t really talk much and his emotional and characteristic colors were well hidden, he was a typical calm and collected enemy/love interest, BUT despite these disadvantages I found him quite charming and positively mysterious.

Puck left me puzzled and I couldn’t really figure him out, thus, I can’t be sure if I like him yet or not. I guess he was a great support for Meghan and quite handy and a trickster in battle, but yes, I’m yet convinced about him. Grim, however, was by far my favorite character. What’s not to like about a sneaky kitty cat!

Overall:

A likable main character is a must for me so despite all other positive aspects of the book, I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have wanted to. Nevertheless, this is a good fairy-themed fantasy YA which I’ve noticed many people adore. And who am I to argue with them.

3 stars!

LIIS

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Awakenings by Edward Lazellari

Hi all!

It has been a long time from my last review, but here is one again now :)




Title: Awakenings 
Series: Guardians of Aandor #1 
Release date: 25th of September 2012 
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Fantasy, Contemporary 
Published by: Tor Fantasy
Pages: 352 pages in paperback 
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository 

Summary:

Awakenings by Edward Lazellari launches a captivating fantasy saga by an amazing and talented new storyteller.

Cal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance.

Cal's and Seth’s lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men's past lives. But these creatures aren't here to help; they're intent on killing anyone who gets in their way. In the balance hangs the life of a child who might someday restore a broken empire to peace and prosperity. With no clue why they're being hunted, Cal and Seth must accept the aid of a strange and beautiful woman who has promised to unlock their secrets. The two must stay alive long enough to protect their loved ones, recover their true selves—and save two worlds from tyranny and destruction.

Review:

This was an incredibly nicely written book. The descriptions, vocabulary, dialogue, etc all were highly enjoyable and simply well put together. The world building was simple yet full of details, without becoming overwhelming, and the action was constant. The possibilities are endless and it seemed that we had only scratched the surface of this new fantasy world.

The plot elements used were familiar and nothing unusual, however, the way they were tied together and presented come across fresh and original. Since the overused story elements were also among my favorites for fantasy and overall then I can’t complain at all. The characters were also a highlight, they were distinct and intriguing.

Why I can’t actually rate the book higher: It was simply too dark, ugly and unfair. Almost every event, almost every character had to face nothing than but injustice, hardship, cruelty, carelessness or just tolerated bad luck. I’m not a fan of abuse and suffering without any visible light at the end of the tunnel and this is how I felt most of the time reading this book. Yes, it’s a very mature read, so I’m not expecting any bunnies and rainbows, but I did hope for something more positively minded. Maybe it gets better in the second book. In addition to the tone of the book, the cliff-hanger was too lackluster and frustrating. The end remained very unsatisfying; there wasn’t a proper conclusion or even something similar to that. If felt more like the end of a chapter, but without it being followed by another.  

An aspect of the story I’m on the fence is the amount of diverse points of views used. They changed often and every major player got their share. While it was enlightening to get a glimpse inside everyone’s minds, it also felt as too much of a good thing at times as well. But basically, I can say that I liked how the multitude of perspectives was handled and presented.

Characters:

Cal was the most heroic of the bunch, a cop whose lives a nice life, but with the revelations of his actual heritage comes a lot of doubt regarding everything he has thought was true. His wife takes it quite bravely, but there is hesitation and confusion on how they can still function as a family when the rules and reality has changed so drastically. Because of his classical hero position, he was also slightly boring to me next to the others, but still highly likable.

Seth was the most intriguing and a puzzle. Firstly, I like underdog characters so he was definitely my favorite of the main ones, but he was also mysterious, seemingly a complete douche. Is he misunderstood or is there really something bad there? Secondly, he came across a perfect antihero and I have no idea where his path would lead him. In conclusion, a great character. I really sympathized with 

Daniel and all he had to endure, his chapters felt extremely depressing and heavy to read and digest. He was a good kid who just was down, way down on his luck. Things for him just have to get better, I will regret saying this, but they can’t get any worse? Can they?

Overall:

I genuinely recommend this to fantasy lovers who don’t really need any mushy romance or want to read about characters dealt with fairly and kindly. This book is realistic, dark and cruel, the characters are hit by everything apart from the kitchen sink from left and right, no one is spared. The fantasy elements are decent and the writing is awesomely good. Try it out if it’s speaks to you!

3 stars!

LIIS
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