Saturday, November 30, 2013

In My Mailbox #110

Saturday, November 30, 2013 with 9 comments

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a weekly meme where we all get to brag about the books and swag we got in the mail, for review, won in contests, etc.

I hope you all had a lovely week and a Happy Thanksgiving for all those who celebrated!  I caught up on all of my shows last weekend, and the hubby's at the deer lease again this weekend, so I'm hoping to catch up on some reading and reviewing while he's gone.  Assuming Katiebug will let me.  She's been über cuddly lately, and I have a hard time saying no to her.  =)

Here's what I scored this week:

For Review:

Enders (Starters, #2)The Lovely and the LostShe Is Not Invisible
Thank you, Random House & Macmillan!!!

Enders by Lissa Price - Gah, I feel like I've been waiting on this book forever!  I finally have it and I can't wait to get started on it, though I might need to check out the audio of Starters as a refresher.  It has been awhile.

The Lovely and the Lost by Page Morgan - Eeek!  I just featured this as my WoW recently, and now the precious is MINE!  Another beautiful cover, more gargoyles...what more could you ask for?!?

She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick - This will be my first book by this author, but I've heard amazing things, so I'm really excited about picking this up.  I love that cover and the premise just sounds so damn different.


The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)My Ex From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #1)My Date From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #2)

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - This was a Kindle Daily Deal earlier this week.  Practically everyone I know loves MWT, but I've never read any of her work, so I thought what better time to try it out.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - This movie is a beloved favorite in our house, but I've never actually read the book.  Audible was offering the audio up for free as a Thanksgiving gift for members, though, so I think it's finally time.  Also, Anne Hathaway is the narrator.  Should be a good one.  :)

My Ex From Hell & My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling - My friends Em & Jenn from Book Jems rave about this author, and since My Date From Hell is currently on sale for Kindle for $0.99, I couldn't pass it up.  And since I haven't read the first book, I had to pick it up, too...for only $3.99.  :)  I loved the excerpt from MDFH, so I'm sure I'm going to love this book tons, just like the Jems girls.

So, that's my haul.  How about you?  What did you get this week?

The Week in Review:


Current Giveaways:  More Coming Soon!!!

Promotional/Discussion Posts:  Top Ten Bookish Things I'm Thankful For, Being Thankful on Thanksgiving

Jen's Currently Reading/Listening To:

Defy (Defy, #1) Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Still reading this one...the holidays have kept me from getting much reading done, but it's going quickly now that I'm back at it, and I'm enjoying it.

After finishing The Fiery Heart, I needed more, so I've been re-listening to the audio for the Vampire Academy series.  I'm on Shadow Kiss right now.  Dimitri...*sigh*

Upcoming Reviews:

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)Defy (Defy, #1)

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Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Title: My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling
Genre: Young Adult
Series: The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #2

Sophie Bloom’s junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world’s greatest kiss re-awakened Sophie’s true identity as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Savior of Humanity), she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated mean girl Bethany’s bitchy troublemaking, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex, Kai (sexy Prince of Darkness). You’d think a girl could catch a break.

Yeah, right.

With Zeus stepping things up, it’s vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone’s memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie’s pre-mortal past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept?

The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together … and treat this suicide mission as a date. Which could work out for Sophie’s plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her–if she doesn’t kill him first.

Add to that the fact that BFF Theo’s love life and other BFF Hannah’s actual life are in Sophie’s hands, and suddenly being a teenager—even a godlike one—seems a bit like … well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?

The YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology fireworks continue to fly in My Date From Hell. Love meets comedy with a whole lot of sass in book two of this teen fantasy romance series. Breaking up is easy; dating is deadly.

Amazon | iTunes | Kobo

Aphrodite pointed her gun at me again, kind of casually. “Your problem is you’re too hung up on the past. You gotta move forward with yer life.”
I heard Hannah give a smothered laugh.
“You got this cutie pie in love with ya, and instead of enjoying his company, all you do is whine.” With a quick flick, Aphrodite opened the cylinder to reload.
“He’s not in love,” I said.
She peered at Kai. “Whattya talkin’ about? Sure he is. Everyone knows Kyrillos loves Persephone.”
       “I’m Sophie,” I ground out.
She waved the gun around. “Ya ya. That too.”
That too? I took a deep breath, folded my fingers over my palms and looked slightly to the left of her in case I accidentally started blasting. Didn’t want to go down in history as the girl who killed the Goddess of Love.
“Nope. It’s just desire,” I said with faked calm. “Kai is so resistant to the idea of being in love with me that your arrows don’t work. Besides which, when he actually does fall so hard for me that he doesn’t know which way is up, I want him to know he chose that of his own free will. That he chose me.” I threw him a sweet smile.
“Chose you?” Kai got this look of “have we had this conversation before?” on his face. My smile got tight.
Aphrodite scooped up a saclike pink purse laying on the ground. She rooted around in it. “Desire is part of romantic love, silly,” she said to me.
She pulled out a handful of bullets and dumped them in Festos’ hurriedly outstretched hands before turning back to Kai. She gestured with the still-open chambered revolver toward him. “Your body knows what’s what. Stop fighting it.”
Kai glowered at her.
She laughed it off, reloading. “And you,” Aphrodite said to me, as she plucked more bullets from Festos’ hand to load into the chamber. “Yer just as bad with your own issues.”
She couldn’t know about my insecurities around Persephone could she? Aphrodite narrowed her eyes at me.
I gulped.
Aphrodite shot me a look of disgust and popped the final bullets into the chambers. She gestured at each of us in turn with one pink, sparkly manicured finger. “I’m gonna start gettin’ real mad about how youse is all dealin’ with love.”
“There’s a whole bunch of drags around here where love is concerned,” Festos agreed.
“Thanks so much for inviting him along,” Theo said to me.
I grimaced an apology at Theo, then shot back at Festos, “Seems there’s a whole bunch of dogs here, too.” I looked between him and Kai.
“Oh don’t forget Pierce,” Festos replied cheerfully. “He’s a total mimbo.” “He is not,” Hannah defended. “He’s pure love.”
Aphrodite threw her a fond smile. “I like you, girlie.” “Love in name, hormones in game,” Theo countered. “Look at us all in agreement,” Festos replied.
“No, because you’re talking about lust,” I protested.
“Lust is pretty good too,” Aphrodite said, “but it ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.” She clicked the cylinder into place and looked at me. “We got a deal? You’ll get Jack to kill the campaign?”
“You’ll undo the love thing?” I asked.
“Nope. You could do with a little love in your life. Kyrillos is obviously brimming with love for ya now,” she ignored Kai’s snort, “so you’re gonna enjoy it.”
“Meaning what?” I asked.
“A date,” Kai piped up. “I’d say I’m ready now.” He arched an eyebrow as if to say “ball’s in your court.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” I slid my arm around his waist and pressed myself up against his side.
A look of surprise flashed across his face. “Perfect.”
I could outdate him any place, any time. I brightened. This was going to be fun. The touching part wasn’t a downside either.
“The fate of the world does dee-pend on you loving each other,” Aphrodite said. “So, good. We’ll start with a date.”
“Still say it’s a euphemism,” Festos burst out. “And Kai doesn’t date.”
Kai snaked his arm around my waist before pressing his fingertips into my hip. “Never wanted to before. Sophie’s the exception.”
“The euphemistic exception?” Festos asked. “Shut up,” Kai and I fired at him in tandem.
Festos took it in stride, waggling his eyebrows cheerfully at Theo who pretended to look disapproving but totally wasn’t. Even Hannah didn’t bother to hide her smile.
“Only thing is,” I told Aphrodite, “I have to be back at school by Sunday morning. I have a meeting I can’t miss. So I’ll have to get this thing with Jack done quickly to have time for the date.”
“Going together to find Hermes is the date.” Aphrodite looked at me like I was an idiot. “You two need as much together time as possible.”
No way. I needed all my wits about me to handle Kai. Something that couldn’t happen if I had to track down Hermes at the same time. I tried a new tactic. “A date involves dinner and a movie. Something romantic. Finding Hermes hardly counts.”
She pinned me in her gaze. “Had so miny of them, Miz Expert? All a date is, is two people spendin’ time to deepen their attraction.”
“Or kill it,” Hannah piped up.
Aphrodite scrunched up her nose. “Huh?”
“There are far more first dates than second,” Hannah explained. “Which means that after spending time, those people realized they were not a match.”
“What she said,” I seconded.
Aphrodite narrowed her eyes at Hannah. “I don’t get ya. You talk like that but you’re so brim up with love.”
“I’m a confounding enigma,” Hannah replied cheerfully.
Aphrodite threw her hands up. “Enough’a this nonsense. You’ll go together to find Hermes. And you’ll be date-like doin’ it.”
That sounded like a threat.
“Almost like you planned it that way,” I said to Kai.
His smile grew wider as he gave my waist a squeeze. “Told you I get what I want. Feel free to let that sink in.”

Tellulah Darling


1. YA romantic comedy author because her first kiss sucked and she's compensating.
2. Alter ego of former screenwriter.
3. Sassy minx.
Geeks out over: cool tech.

Squees for: great storytelling.
Delights in: fabulous conversation.
Writes about: where love meets comedy. Awkwardness ensues.

Sassy girls. Swoony boys. What could go wrong?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 29, 2013

Title: The Promise of Amazing
Author: Robin Constantine
Series: n/a
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Source: received from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

With such an adorable cover and a too-cute premise like that, I had really high hopes that this book would be equally as delightful.  But perhaps my expectations were a bit too high because although this book was ridiculously cute in theory, it never truly resonated with me.  Don't get me has its moments, but it also had many more moments that left me wanting to pull my hair out.

You know when you're watching a movie or reading a story and you already know where it's going and you're just cringing and cringing, hoping that what you think is about to happen never comes to fruition because, gawd, is it going to be awkward?  I think that sums up this book in a nutshell.  I was so unbelievably excited to read this book when I first discovered its existence because it just sounded so freaking adorable.  Alas, it was not meant to be.  I didn't have the same inability to finish the novel that some of my friends did, but it was definitely a chore at times to continue reading.

First of all, the characters are one of the most important aspects of a story for me.  And I just could not connect with Wren or Grayson on any level.  I really wanted to because the story of an ordinary girl changing a bad boy for the better is one I usually tend to enjoy.  But usually in those stories, the bad boy is at least somewhat repentant of his past misdeeds.

Grayson only seems to feel bad because he got caught.  And the term paper thing isn't the worst of his wrong-doings. As an outsider looking in, I could see the appeal of Grayson's character:  he's charming, attractive, and he wears that jacket with the elbow patches.  (Or am I the only one who thinks those are hot?)  But as I got to know him, both through Wren and from his own point-of-view, I found him to be a total asshat.  None of his actions really implied that he was attempting to atone for his past mistakes, and even at the end of the story, it didn't appear that he ever would.

Wren, on the other hand, was just so unbelievably naïve.  Which was actually rather odd to me, considering that her character is the epitome of ordinary and she's not wholly inexperienced.  She's not your typical virginal protagonist and she's not the most popular girl in school.  Wren is completely average, which should endear her to readers because who among us hasn't felt that way, but because her siblings are anything but average themselves, she whines about not being special for a good chunk of the book.  I think that's part of the reason she ignores things about Grayson's character that should throw up red flags or lets things go with minimal argument:  she feels undeserving of his attention.  I really hated that about her character; I would have rather seen her react with elation that a hot guy was attracted to her than witness her perpetual feelings of inadequacy.

The story started out strong enough, and I think that if it had only been told from Wren's perspective, whiny as it was, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more.  That's partly because I would have mostly been out of the loop for "Operation Amsterdam" which had fail written all over it.  Also, I don't think the insta-love factor would have felt so all-encompassing if not for Grayson's perspective on it.  He's a player, he chokes on a cocktail weenie, Wren saves him, and he's besotted for the rest of the story.  Like, turn-on-his-friends-obsessed with Wren.  At least Wren had the good sense to question things, even if that didn't last long.

I don't know...the story was cute but it felt wrong in so many ways.  I don't necessarily think that young adult novels need to be some moral guidepost or show what real love looks like because that's all open to interpretation.  But even if the characters make bad decisions on their path to each other, I still feel as if I should like them, even if I can't relate to them. I didn't hate the book.  I was just hoping that it would fulfill it's "promise of amazing", and for me, it didn't.  It was just run-of-the-mill cute, unfortunately.  The Promise of Amazing was a quick, mildly entertaining read, and I'm sure many others will find it more enjoyable than I did.

About the author:

Robin Constantine is a born and bred Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene.

Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Find Robin:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Tumblr

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013 with 3 comments
I hope you all are having a fabulous Thanksgiving, celebrating with family and friends, good food, spirits and football.  =) And if you're not in the States or you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, like my Canadian boss who thinks it's the craziest thing how we make such a big deal out of a meal, well, I hope you're having a lovely Thursday, at any rate.  :D

I'm so thankful and feel so lucky to be at the place that I am in my life, and although I already shared my bookish thanks with you guys on Tuesday, I wanted to share a little bit more today.  So, here's a bit more that I'm thankful for:

-- My husband and daughter.  Jerrod is my rock and he puts up with me when not many could, and I'm so grateful that he came into my life.  And without him, I wouldn't have the most precious person in my life: Katiebug.  We waited until the birth to find out the sex of the baby, totally thinking we were having a boy, and she's been surprising us ever since.

-- My extended family.  We may be few in number but we make up for it in heart.  We don't always get to be together for the holidays, but I'm so glad that this year, we're making it happen.

-- My job.  I probably complain about my job more than I should, but I do work for a pretty great company, and my boss is the best I've ever worked for.  I've worked some pretty crappy jobs in the past, and I know I have it good where I'm at now.

-- My life.  Every day that I wake up is another blessing.  My little family may not be glamorous or have an abundance of riches, but we have a nice life together, full of good friends and family, and we know just how fortunate we are.

I'm thankful for so much, but that covers the tip of the iceberg, anyway.  :)  Another thing I'm thankful for? That my kid is just as big of a Potterhead as I am.  Check out the turkey in disguise we made for her kindergarten class's display this year:

It's Harry Gobbler!  Get it?  Like Harry Potter but Gobbler because he's a turkey?  :P  He even has an invisibility cloak -- that black thing above the turkey in the picture.  Like mother like daughter, I suppose.  :D

Anyway, by the time you're reading this, I either hope you've just come out of your turkey coma and are going back for more or that you're taking a much-needed break from all of those family and friends of yours. ;0)  Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, guys!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selection is...

Title: Maybe Someday
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: n/a
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 18, 2014

Add to Goodreads
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance—and the enchanting music that inspires one young woman to put her life back together.

At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, This Girl, and Losing Hope, Maybe Someday is destined to become another bestseller and long-lasting fan favorite.

I've only read Hoover's HOPELESS series, but I've enjoyed each book in that series better than the one before it, so I'm fully expecting to love this one.  I hate cheaters and back-stabbing best friends, and I'll be rooting for those two to get their comeuppance.  Also, I can't for some serious chemistry between Ridge and Sydney.  :D

Title: Breakable
Author: Tammara Webber
Series: companion to Easy
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: May 6, 2014

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He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

Note: "Breakable is not a sequel. It's a prequel story from Landon and the Easy story from Lucas. Breakable is Lucas's story - for those of you who wanted inside his head. It can be read as a stand-alone of its own, or as a companion to Easy."

Easy was one of my first forays into new adult, and despite some tough subject matter, I really enjoyed the story and the characters and all the feels.  Lucas was an intriguing character, and I'm excited to read his story, and I'm definitely glad to hear this isn't Easy just from his POV.  I didn't mind that with Hoover's Hopeless/Losing Hope, but it's always nice to read a different story from a character you've already come to know.

Now that you know what I'm dying to read, what are you waiting on this week?  Feel free to share it in the comments or leave a link so I can stop by!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.  Apparently, they are overly fond of list-making and love to share their bookish lists with the rest of us book nerds.  =)  I'm game.

This week's list features the Top Ten {Bookish} Things I'm Thankful For.

1.  A husband who never says no to my bookish whims, even when he probably should.

2.  A daughter who loves to read almost as much as I do.

3.  Bookish friends to share the ups and downs of the reading experience with.

4.  A job to support my reading addiction.

5.  Audiobooks -- I'd never get through my TBR if not for these!

6.  Libraries because they bring the joy of reading to everyone!

7.  Having hundreds of books at my fingertips via my Kindle.

8.  Wonderful authors who value their readers (and their opinions).

9.  Book signings so that I can meet those wonderful authors!

10.  Publishers, Netgalley & Edelweiss...I love reading books in advance of publication!

Pretty much, I'm just thankful to be able to read, period.  =)  I'll post my non-bookish list on Thursday in celebration of Thanksgiving.  But in case you're not going to be around because you're too busy with family and friends, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the states!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here's what I'm teasing this week:

Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy, book #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
My teaser:
"If you come willingly, this will go much better for you.  I promised to bring you alive--but I never specified how alive you'd be."
- Loc 1355, 40% of galley

Uh oh!  That sounds menacing!  I haven't gotten as far as I'd have liked with this one yet due to preparations for the upcoming holiday -- which is to say, I've been cleaning my house like a mad woman because company's coming -- so I don't know who says this yet, but I can't wait to find out!  =)

What are you teasing this week?  Share it in the comments or leave a link so I can visit!

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