Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

From Goodreads:
This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai'i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place---and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.

With a vibrant cast of vividly realized characters, Moloka'i is the true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death. Such is the warmth, humor, and compassion of this novel that "few readers will remain unchanged by Rachel's story" (mostlyfiction.com).

My Review:
This story was rich with history and culture. It is a work of fiction based largely on facts. I didn't realize that the book would be educational as well as entertaining. The characters are so well developed and vibrant that they felt like old friends by the end of the book. Rachel's story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, a little bit heavy on the heartbreak but the book did not have a depressing feel to it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me angry at the ignorance of people and it made me happy at the good in people. The pace of the storytelling was perfect and I seemed to coast through the pages. I was actually a little sad to have reached the end of Rachel's story.

I really enjoyed this author's writing style and will be checking out his other work. As an added bonus, I think the cover art is gorgeous. 

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday Showcase #2

With the long holiday weekend I lost track of my days!  Just realized that today is actually Monday and that I missed Showcase Sunday.  So without further ado........

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The purpose of Showcase Sunday is to show off our newest books or book related swag whether you bought, borrowed or received it as a gift or for review. If you would like to participate in Showcase Sunday click here to learn how.


Free e-book:

For Review:

What goodies did you get?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grab Bag Giveaway

This is the first of what I hope to be a monthly giveaway!  For the first month this will be limited to the U.S. and Canada.  Depending on how well this goes over I would like to go international with it.

I love grab bag gifts, I have since I was little. There is just something about choosing a gift at random and the anticipation of finding out what you got. I also love Half Price Books and I spend a great deal of time there.  While there I always find some amazing deals and I want to start sharing the wealth! I have started amassing a giveaway pile during my last few excursions there and now it's time to start sharing.

The details:
  • Your prize will be a gently used book or books
  • The winner will be contacted and asked to pick a number from a pre-determined set (such as 1-10). Your prize will be completely random based on the number that you pick. Genres of prize books include mystery/thriller, romance, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, horror ** The winner will be able to choose which genre(s) that their prized gets picked from. (That way no one ends up with a genre they absolutely hate!) **
  • The giveaway will be open from now until 12:01am EST on June 15th.
  • The winner will be picked on June 16th and contacted via e-mail.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response after 48 hours I will choose another winner.  
To enter, simply fill out the rafflecopter below.  If you choose to do a review of your prize please let me know and I would love to post and link to your review.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sweet Blood of Mine by John Corwin

* I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.

Justin is a nerd, a big one. He is the typical punching bag for the popular jocks. He has his nerdy friends, his role-playing game Kings and Castles, a crush on an unattainable girl, a flabby spare tire, man boobs and excruciating migraines. Sounds like quite the catch doesn't he? Stacey thinks so and that's before he gains his super strength, speed and ability to seduce just about any woman. Sounds like he hit the jackpot right? Not quite. His friends, not so great, the girl, not so crush worthy, Stacey, not so human and his parents, not who he thought they were.

I thought this book was a refreshing change of pace. It was enjoyable to read the story from a guy's point of view, and a hopeless romantic guy at that. I love Justin's sense of humor and he is a character that is easily related to. There were quite a few 'laugh out loud' moments I think the author did an excellent job developing his characters. It's easy to like who you are supposed to like and hate who you are supposed to hate. The dialogue is good and snarky, perfect for the intended audience.

The only negative thing I have to say is that it felt like the author tried to jam too much into the story. It felt a little chaotic at times, but then again that may be exactly what the author was going for.

In any case, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast, funny and at times heartwarming read. I look forward to the continuation of Justin's story in book two of the series. 

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cancer Does Indeed Suck!

Ok, so this post has nothing what-so-ever to do with books but it is pretty important to me.  My husband (and best friend) Jason and his band Short To Ground contributed an exclusive track to the compilation Electronic Saviors 2: Recurrence.  All proceeds from the sale of Electronic Saviors 2 goes to The Bone Marrow Foundation and Gilda's Club of Western Pennsylvania.  As a cancer survivor this is a cause near and dear to my heart.

The following link will take you to Jason's blog post about Electronic Saviors.  From the post you will be able to link to a podcast of some of the songs from the compilation.  Give it a listen, if you enjoy what you hear, or know someone who will,  please consider buying the compilation and donating to a great cause!  Tell your friends!! :)
Invasive Species Radio

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Whisper Cape by Regan Walsh

* I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.

After her father suddenly dies, Addison MacKenna moves back to the town of Whisper Cape, Oregon where she was born. Along for the move is Addison's Aunt Maia, who helped raise her from infancy because Addison's mother died shortly after giving birth. With the exception of the nightmares life seems to be moving forward for Addison, that is until a stranger appears in town. With the appearance of the stranger comes changes in Addison and the knowledge that her father wasn't at all what he seemed. Secrets and powers arise which could cost Addison her life and the lives of those she loves.

After reading the synopsis of this book, I jumped at the chance to read and review it. I was a bit disappointed as I had a very hard time getting through it. The idea behind the story was intriguing but the execution was missing something. I was not able to connect with the characters. Most of the main characters were in their mid 20's to late 30's but their dialogue and interactions with each other appeared to be more juvenile. There are sex scenes and while they are not juvenile they seem immature and even awkward at times. There is a great deal of anticipation and buildup to the battle with the "big bad", but the actual altercation is swift and unsatisfying.

On the positive side, the Sectorium and it's members is a great concept. The powers that the members possess, how they come into those powers and how they manifest are all fascinating ideas. With a little more character growth and balancing of buildup to resolution I think the author could have a worthy series on her hands.

My Rating: 2/5 stars

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Showcase Sunday #1

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The purpose of Showcase Sunday is to show off our newest books or book related swag whether you bought, borrowed or received it as a gift or for review.  If you would like to participate in Showcase Sunday click here to learn how.

I had a killer week as far as getting books was concerned!  Since it was my birthday weekend I decided to lift the self-imposed grounding from the book stores as a gift to myself.  After you finish reading this post you will understand why I grounded myself in the first place!!


Borrowed from Library:

Received for Review:

What sorts of goodies did you get this week?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

I just signed up for a new meme-type thingie (don't you love my technical term?) but instead of happening weekly, it takes place monthly.  It's called Random Acts of Kindness and it's hosted by Book Soulmates.  Anyone can sign up monthly and let others know your wishlist of books and what genres you are into. The idea is to view others' wishlists and send them something they would like and you might just get a surprise in return. I think it's a great idea and I give props to Isalys and Vanessa for putting this together and keeping it running every month.  Click here if you would like to sign up for this month.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Got A Present!

This lovely bookmark was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home from work today! Big thanks to Melissa at Melissa's Midnight Musings for offering these stained glass bookmarks in her 75+ Followers Giveway.  Now I can put the blue Reverse card back in the Uno deck.

What do you guys use as bookmarks? 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Simmer by Kaitlyn Davis (Midnight Fire #2)

* I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.

In the second installment of the Midnight Fire series Kira is off to Sonnyville, the Protector colony in Florida. The council wants to see what she is made of and if, like the history books say, they have anything to fear from her existence.

Simmer is definitely a step up from Ignite in which the editing errors were numerous and they actually detracted from the story. While there are still a few errors in Simmer, they are not as noticeable and the story is able to hold it's own.

Kaitlyn Davis continues to step up the pace as she did towards the end of Ignite and it continues just about all the way through this book. The "fight" scenes seemed to get a little more intense as Kira learns more about her powers and how far she is willing to go to get what she desires. Kira is finally living up to the potential of a kick ass, take no bullsh*t character.

Overall this was a fast, enjoyable read. The more we learn about history of the Protectors, Punishers and Mixed Breeds the more I look forward to what the future holds for our characters. The author threw in a couple of unexpected plot twists (which I love!) and I am definitely left wanting more. I look forward to the release of Blaze, book 3 of the Midnight Fire Series.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #1

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a way to let each other know what books we are anxiously waiting for. Thanks Jill!

From Goodreads: 

"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of WitchesDeborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending,Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season 

Why I can't wait:  I love books that contain elements of the paranormal, I love historical fiction and this book is both! Throw in a love story and I've hit the trifecta!  The first book in this series, A Discovery of Witches was amazing and July cannot get here soon enough.

Release Date: July 10, 2012

What are you waiting for?