Saturday, March 30, 2013

Of Silver and Beasts Cover Reveal





Of Silver and Beasts (A Goddess Wars Novel)


Release
Date: June 1, 2013

Genre: New Adult Dark Fantasy
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound
Cover
Designed by: Steven
Novak



Summary
from Goodreads:


In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once
saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to
hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it,
but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant
reminder that she’s different.


When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she
becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a
neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the
last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared
Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where
they must fight for their life in a caged arena. 


Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive
while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic
that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can
somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.





***Excerpt***


I open my mouth to say something comforting, but I’m unsure of what. In this moment, I’m reminded that I know little about him. Other than the sarcasm and desire to understand nothing of my queendom, he hasn’t allowed me past the surface.
 But then, I have my own walls, hiding things I’d never want him or any other to know. And I understand that need to hide them. You can’t trust anyone.
 “Caben…” I start, but still can’t find the right words.
 He lowers his hand from his face, never taking his eyes off the glinting water top. “You’re right,” he finally says. “Let’s find the access to Lilly’s section.”
 A hollow pang hits my chest, and I’m not sure why. Something in his voice sounds lost, broken. I imagine the gears around my heart spinning faster, trying to keep up with my racing heart.
 When he sidesteps me, I reach out and grab his arm. “Caben, I didn’t mean—”
 “It’s fine, Kal,” he snaps. “We have work to do.”
 “No, I’ve said something to offend you.” I drop my hand, but keep close to him, not allowing him to leave my side. Goddess, trying to understand the male brain is harder than anything in protector training. I’ve heard people say that you have to tip-toe around a woman’s emotions, but a man’s ego is every bit as fragile, if not more so.
 He releases a heavy breath through his nose and walks back to the pool. He sits down along the edge and rolls up his pants, then slips off his boots. “I honestly don’t think Bax or his goons will be returning tonight.” He sinks his bare feet into the water and sighs.
 Glancing at the back of the cave, I plant my hands on my hips. We don’t have time for indulgencies, but the prince is still my charge. If it were my empress, I’d give her anything she’d ask for. Allow her as much time as she needed to collect herself. I have to watch over his mental state as well as protect him, so I try to push the pending need to find Lilly aside and sit down next to him.
 “Here,” he says, turning his hand out near my crossed feet. “You have to feel this.”
 A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. “I can remove my own—”
 “Have you never been pampered a day in your life?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow. “I know that the Nactue are fierce and will put a hurt on any man for touching them. But try to relax.”
 “Is that the rumor in Perinya?”
 “What?”
 I bite my lip, suddenly regretting my blurt. “Nothing. Never mind.”
 From the corner of my eye, I see his lips pucker into a pinched smile, as if he’s trying not to. “Ah,” he says, like he’s made some great universal connection. “Well, there are many whisperings about the Nactue. Some I dare not repeat for fear I’d leave here missing a limb, but that’s one, yes.” He takes my booted foot and begins to unlace it. “I’ve heard that the empress’s protectors are untouchable—forbidden to give themselves to men. And that they’ll snap a man’s neck just for making an advance.”
 My mouth drops open. Appalled, I counter, “That’s not true.”
 “All right,” he says, as if he hasn’t just insulted my very existence. “It’s only rumors. Things men jaw about in pubs. The unattainable woman is a fantasy, Kal. Don’t be offended.”
 “Unattainable?” I grit my teeth, trying to maintain my composure. “Tell me, prince. Do men in your country just go around bedding every woman they can in order to keep them compliant?” I shake my head. “If their fantasy is a woman that would have nothing to do with them, it seems to me it’s their way of feeding their egos after being rejected.”
 His eyes widen. “No! How does your brain come up with these—” He bites off his words, his lips thin as he presses them together. “Look, it was a joke.”
 I nod, many times. “Another joke. I’m glad that our hard work and sacrifice is amusing to the men of Perinya.”
 Caben lets out another sigh and slowly pulls off my boot. His warm fingers skim my calf as he inches up my pant leg. “Just stick your foot in,” he says, then adds lower, “while I stick mine in my mouth.”
 Unexpectedly, I laugh. “At least it’s now clean,” I say. “Would you like some help getting it to your face?”


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***GIVEAWAY***


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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blue Hearts of Mars Book Blast




Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas


Retta Heikkinen knows the unspoken rule of society: love between androids and humans is forbidden. A simple enough edict until Hemingway Koskinen spends an evening charming her with his intense gaze, bewitching smile, and sparkling conversation that hints at so much more than the usual obsessions of high school boys. Rules were meant to be cast aside, especially when love beckons.

If only it were as simple as being in love.

Trouble is brewing, not just for Hemingway--for all androids. Secrets have been kept, lies propagated, and Retta soon discovers that a frightening future awaits thousands of androids if she doesn’t do something to stop it. Worse yet, she will lose the one love she’s ever endangered herself for: Hemingway.



Praise

"Nothing like I've read before. A true original story! Everything is so well described. Now if they could make a follow up book and movie, that would be great!" ~Mrs. Z (Amazon)

"I was addicted to this book from the beginning. Life on Mars was very real and not at all a sci fi world I didn't understand . . . I found myself rooting for Retta and Hemingway from the very beginning. Easy reading, couldn't put it down and had it read in a weekend. Waiting for a sequel!" ~TNielsen (Amazon)

"The ending of this book is exceptional. While it was different from what I imagined, the way the author brought in a shocking revelation was amazing. I probably reread the last chapter 3 times letting it sink in and the meaning behind it. It was truly beautiful . . . I would love to see more of Retta and Hemingway!" ~Kat Meyer, (Goodreads)

"I love how the author populated Mars . . . so descriptive and comprehensive . . . I could clearly picture everything as if I was seeing the movie &/or was along for the ride. . . . Retta, the main character, is strong, opinionated, and a great champion for her cause." ~Megan (Amazon)

"I had been in the worst reading slump ever and came across this on Goodreads and thought I'd give it a try. Well, I was pleasantly surprised on how funny and exciting and mysterious it was . . . Mei, Retta's bff, had me laughing out loud quite a bit as well as Retta herself. I'd definitely hang out with those two." ~Deanneluvbooks (Goodreads)



Blue Hearts of Mars has made it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Readers are invited to download the excerpts (here) and rate and comment on the entries. So please, if you want to contribute, download and rate Blue Hearts! Your support is incredibly appreciated!


Or purchase the full version of the book here: Amazon




Author Nicole Grotepas

Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time.












Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/14/13

Open only to those 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

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The Humming Room 
by Ellen Potter
192 pages
Library
Tween
Feiwel & Friends 
February 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.  

My Thoughts
The Humming Room is inspired by The Secret Garden and it really shows. The plot is very similar but the characters have a life of their own. Roo is a feisty twelve year old that has a special connection with the earth and can hear it sing when she listens real hard. She goes to stay with her uncle after her father dies at Cough Rock Island. Roo is hard at first but softens when making friends with Violet and the wild boy, Jack. Also, she finds her cousin Phillip who is suffering from depression after his mother's death. Ellen Potter does a great job of making the story her own with the setting of a former children's hospital with tales of ghosts and urban legends. There is an almost mythical setting to the book as Jack has his connection with animals and Roo with the earth. I love the setting of the island and Roo falling in love with the river.
This book made me want to reread The Secret Garden and watch the 1949 Margaret O'Brien version. It is my favorite because it is in back and white until the garden is restored and they use color. It is a great version and you should check it out.
Overall it was a diverting read and reminded me how much I love The Secret Garden!

Book Pairings
Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage
Tilly's Moonlight Garden by Julia Green
Keeper by Kathi Appelt 


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Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop

This hop is in conjunction with the 3rd annual Fairy Tale Fortnight.  
March 26th to April 2nd
Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop
Hosted by

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George



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Monday, March 25, 2013

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

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City of Dark Magic 
by Magnus Flyte
464 pages
NetGalley- Penguin Books
Adult Fantasy/Paranormal
November 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.      Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.

My Thoughts
Sarah Weston is a graduate student in the music department and gets the chance of a life time to go to Prague and work with primary sources of Beethoven. She is thrilled but her excitement is dampened when she finds that mentor mysteriously died at the Lobkowicz Castle. She is determined to see the project through and finds herself in danger from multiple threats. There is a lot to this book and I think that might have been to its detriment. I think if it had been two books or a plot line dropped it would have been better.   
When I opened this book up I expected a fantasy or paranormal thriller that took place in Prague. I kinda got that but more on the spy end of thriller rather than paranormal. If you go in knowing that then you might enjoy it more than I did but overall it was not the kind of book I usually read. Plus there was a little too much sex for my preference. I sloughed through it and it got better at the end when Sarah faced off with the big bad but overall I was not thrilled by this book. I think I will pass on the inevitable sequel. Now if the author writes a book about Pols and her dog then I will be there in a heart beat. They were my favorite characters. However, if you are more into books that focus on spies, cloak and dagger espionage then you might enjoy City of Dark Magic.

Book Pairings 
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark
The Historian by


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Friday, March 22, 2013

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio

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Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History 
by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio
read by Dylan Baker
Audiobook
9 hours and 27 minutes
Non-Fiction
2012

Book Jacket Summary
The true account of the 1979 rescue of six American hostages from Iran.
On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today. But there's a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a midlevel agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them.
Armed with foreign film visas, Mendez and an unlikely team of CIA agents and Hollywood insiders - directors, producers, actors - traveled to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations for a fake film called Argo. While pretending to find the perfect scenery and backdrops, the team succeeded in contacting the escapees and smuggling them out of Iran without a single shot being fired.
Antonio Mendez finally details the mind-bogglingly complex and dangerous operation he led more than three decades ago. A true story of secret identities and international intrigue, Argo is the gripping account of the history-making collusion between Hollywood and high-stakes espionage.

My Thoughts
When the movie version of Argo won Academy Award for best picture I knew I had to read the book. I found it on Overdrive and began to listen as the adventure unfolded. There is so much information in this book about the history of Iran, the CIA, and diplomacy that it made my head swim at times but it is still relevant to the world we live in. It always amazes me that there is so much history and information that I do not know. This book helped fill in those gaps and kept me entertained throughout. That is all I ask of a non-fiction book, please teach me something but make it fun.
Argo is the name of a mission that extracted six Americans that had escaped the American Embassy in Tehran and brought them safely home. There were several countries involved in this rescue and Canada ended up being the key to bring our people home. The narrator had a pleasing voice and made it easy to understand. Medez made it thrilling to hear about other CIA extractions and even though I knew they would make it I was on the edge of my seat at times.
This is a great audiobook to listen to on a car ride because it will keep you engaged and you will learn about a moment of history that not many people knew about before this decade. I would recommend that libraries put this in their collections because I am sure that students will want to know more after watching the movie!

Book Pairings
The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Poison by Bridget Zinn

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 Poison 
by Bridget Zinn 
288 pages
NetGalley- Disney Hyperion
Fantasy YA
March 2013

Book Jacket Summary
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

My Thoughts

I always have a really hard time writing about books I truly love because I just want to shout BUY IT!! This is one of those books! I was a little tentative going into this one because it looked much darker than it turned out to be (the cover I saw did not have the piglet on the cover). The tone sounded bleak because it was about a girl having to kill her best friend! What a downer. However this turned into a funny fantasy that was just what I needed after reading so many dystopians!
Kyra is on the run after attempting to kill Princess Arriana and is trying to steal a potion that will seal the deal. Kyra is a potions master and uses her abilities throughout the book and is  wicked smart throughout. She is the only one to see the danger and acts on it knowing she would be put on trial for treason. She does acquire a piglet who can find anyone, a travel companion named Fred, and his wolfhound Langley. All three are a delight! Hey, if a pig is good enough for Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain then Rosie is most welcome in Poison. This was a joy to read and I highly recommend it! I know I was quite upset when I had to be pulled away in the last third to do mundane things like work.
I was all excited about finding an author who wrote YA fantasy that I was devastated when I learned of Bridget Zinn's death. We have lost a great writer and I am mourning the sequel that could have been. On a happier note, many authors have picked up the book to promote on their own book tours and will sign them in Bridget's place. Go ahead a pick this one up, especially if you love a good fantasy!
  

Book Pairings
Secondhand Charm by

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