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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kari's Top 10 of 2011

Here are mine in no particular order.  Honestly, I had more than 10 but these are the ones that stood out for me.
  (OK I cheated like Autumn and added an extra to make 11.) Enjoy!



The Last Blind Date By Linda Yellin
Forbidden by Ted Dekker
Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall
Cloaked by Alex Finn
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton
Die for Me by Amy Plum
Hereafter by Tara Hudson
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb







Autumn's Top Ten for 2011

I cheated a little and this ended up being 11 instead of 10.

So in no particular order they are:

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
Original Sin by Beth McMullen
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Burn by Annie Oldham

by:  Annie Oldham
published by:  CreateSpace
publish date:  September 27, 2011

The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That's what Terra's father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right.

She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. When she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, she has to decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or The Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.


The Burn was a surprisingly good YA dystopian book.  The premise behind this book is that before the world destroyed itself the best and brightest secretly got together and built huge colonies under the ocean.  When the surface world was obliterated, the colonies thrived without anyone knowing. 

Terra desperately wants to leave the colony and find out what it's like to live on the surface world.  With the help of a sympathetic teacher she manages to escape.  However, she finds that she's traded one tough life for an even tougher one.

I'm a fan of YA dystopian so I enjoyed this one but I think it could hold wide appeal.  There were some incidents of violence in it that kind of surprised me and I wouldn't have expected in a book like this.  The Burn would make a great addition to all those new ereaders everyone got for Christmas! 

Guest Blog: Rachel Thompson

Today, we welcome author Rachel Thompson who is promoting her book, Mancode Exposed. Welcome Rachel!

Publisher: Self
Date of publication: November 2011

Men, women, sex, love, stereotypes. Important world topics like garages, lingerie, and um, chocolate? It's a melting pot (okay, now you're just getting hungry)...

But more than that, it's about all the levels in which we communicate...viewed through Thompson's looking glass of humor and deconstructed with her special brand of snark.

Thompson explores controversial questions like: Can we outrun our DNA? Will we women always be slaves to our talkative nature (apr├Ęs sex)? Will men never be free of the chains of emotional withholding? Can we transfer man's paper towel changing abilities from garage to kitchen?


Rachel writes:


I write about the differences between men and women.

Mancode vs. Chickspeak.
 
My latest book, The Mancode: Exposed, focuses specifically on the goofy stuff guys do and how we chicks react, scratch our heads, and wonder where we placed the guys we originally hooked up with way back when – ya know, the ones who didn’t burp, fart, and then expect sex all within the span of a minute.
 
Like that.
 
One topic that has always amused me is the temperature differences between the sexes. I don’t know about you, but in my family the shemales are always cold, the hewolves  always hot.
 
(The above is not a euphemism for sex. If you know me at all, you’ll know when I’m talking about sex. Cause I title my essays things like “The Penis. Deconstructed.”)
 
It can be forty degrees out and my husband will have the car window down with his head out the window, kind of like well, a dog for lack of a better word; while my daughter and I shiver away, teeth chattering. Not that he notices. He’s too busy barking at other cars.
 
It’s not just the guys though. My mom will play with the temperature gauges like a scientist conducting an experiment from the second she enters ANY car, twisting and turning the knobs like a professional. My dad and her friends are all apparently used to her OCD foible, but not having lived in the same town for many years, I’d forgotten to warn my guy when he first met her of how oh, clinically insane she is (love you, mommy) when it came to her need to control Mother Earth and all its inhabitants.
 
See, women are crazy squirrelnuts, too.
 
Husband and I play window musical chairs – I’ll be wrapped up shivering in a blanket with my ice-cold fingers warming around a steaming mug of coffee and he’ll burst into the room with “Why’s it so hot in here?” and proceed to open every window in the room. Not to be rude or inconsiderate – I used to think that of course; but after nineteen years of marriage, it’s now my theory that testosterone makes men ovens and estrogen makes women icicles.
 
It’s why we warm our arctic feet on you.
 
Darwin, baby. Only the strong survive.
 
If you enjoy my writing, please check out my books on Amazon (no Kindle required – free apps for smartphones, computers and tablets): A Walk In The Snark, The Mancode: Exposed, and my blog, RachelintheOC.com. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or email me at RachelintheOC@gmail.com.
Thanks for hosting me, TBR!
 
Just a quick reminder, any commenter is eligible for my free Kindle giveaway at the end of my tour simply by leaving a comment.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Throwback Thursday: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham


Author: Caroline Graham
First Published in 1987 by Century (imprint of Random House)

Badger's Drift is an ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster with a nice line in homemade cookies. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up an unseemly fuss, loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness.

I have been a fan of Agatha Christie since I was in Junior High School.  I had heard that Caroline Graham's Inspector Barnaby books were very reminiscent of Ms. Christie's novels. So, when the first one became available in audio at my library, I snatched it up.  The critics are correct.

The Killings at Badger's Drift is a great mystery. The twist at the end really shocked me.  I never saw it coming!  Inspector Barnaby is a wonderful detective.  I love how he goes about solving a case and uncovering hidden secrets.  The addition of his wife and daughter into the story made him more real to me. I definitely will be picking up the next in the series.  Maybe after I read a few, I will try out the television series, Midsomer Murders.  Hopefully, they are as good as the books.

   

Blog tour: Fate's Second Chance by AJ Jarrett

Publisher: Silver Publishing
Date of Publication: November 2011
Marie Carter has lived a pretty average life, and she thought dying was the worst thing to happen, until informed by her guarding angel Ross that she was supposed to be born a man. Sent back as Marc, he has one month to heal his sister's suffering and get his soulmate Shawn to fall in love with him. If he fails, it's back to heaven he goes, the love of his life will eventually die of a broken heart, and Ross will be kicked out of heaven.

Marc has been in love with Shawn ever since he could remember, but is a month enough time to get someone to fall in love? And when faced with the knowledge of angels and body mix ups, can a skeptical Shawn believe what is so obviously in front of his face? Can Marc get his happily ever after? Or was what was written in the stars not meant to be?


Fate's Second Chance is an interesting debut novel.  I liked the premise of it. The powers that be make a mistake before Marc is born and he ends up in a girl's body instead of a boy's.  Because of this mix-up, she is given the chance to go back as her (or should I say, his) true self after an unexpected death.  I liked Ross's character the most I think.  He added some nice comedy to the story.


While I did enjoy the book, I didn't love it as much as I was hoping I would.  Marie comes back as Marc, yet most of the time that I was reading the story, I kept thinking that Marc was a woman.  His mannerisms and reactions just seemed too female to me.  So, I had a hard time buying Marie/Marc's change. I do see a promising future for Ms. Jarrett.  It's a cute story and one worth checking out.


About the author:


Hi to everyone! My name is AJ and I started writing about a year ago. So far I’ve been published through Silver Publishing and I just signed a contract for a book with Siren Publishing. So this past year has been busy for me. 
I’m the proud mother of four very active children. When they’re not driving me completely insane they have me laughing my butt off. Kids can do that to adults. I got lucky enough to marry one of the good guys. My husband is very helpful and takes on more of my stress than should be allowed. He supports me and understands all those nights that I don’t come to bed because I’m a slave to my muse.


Fate’s Second Chance is my first release and its part of a series. My intentions are to make this a three part series surrounding the characters from the first book. I already have the second book completed and Silver has accepted it for publication. I’m a fan of books that are part of a series so I wanted to do that with my writings.


I had a fun time bringing these character to life and I hope others enjoy them as much as I do!

BUY LINKS:
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Fates-Second-Chance-Twists-ebook/dp/B0063CNE9S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321756359&sr=8-1

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop Winners!!



Thank you to everyone who entered the Mid Winters Eve Blog Hop.  The following winners were chosen using Random.org.  Winners, check your e-mail!

Pack #1 Adult Mysteries: Shelleyrae

Pack #2 Debut Authors: Leigh Ann

Pack #3 Adult Fiction: Bookworm Lisa

Pack #4 Young Adult: Marie

Congrats to the winners!!!! - Kari & Autumn

Long Gone by Alafair Burke

Author: Alafair Burke
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: June 2011

How well do you know your boss?

After a layoff and months of struggling, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. According to Drew Campbell, the well-suited corporate representative who hires her, the gallery is a passion project for its anonymous, wealthy, and eccentric owner.

Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the gallery gone—the space stripped bare as if it had never been there—and Drew Campbell’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of a police investigation, with the evidence mounting against her. To prove her innocence and uncover the truth, Alice must undertake a dangerous search for answers that entangles her in a dark, high-tech criminal conspiracy and forces her to unearth long-hidden secrets involving her own family . . . secrets that could cost Alice her life.


Long Gone was a lot better than I expected.  I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I liked this book.  I almost gave up on it.  The book starts with several story lines that seem to not fit in with each other.   I decided that I was intrigued enough by one of the story lines to keep going with the book. I soon found myself engrossed!

 Long Gone is well written with a well planned plot.  I liked the way the story lines come together in the end.  Every time I thought I had it all figured out, another clue was thrown at me to throw me off.  I never knew who or what to trust.  Honestly, I don't want to give away any of the plot because I think it would ruin a good mystery.  Just read the synopsis and go with that for a teaser.

This is the first book I have read by the author and I know I will be seeking out his other works. This is a great book and I definitely recommend it to lovers of mysteries. You won't be disappointed.

A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

by:  Anna Sheehan
published by:  Candlewick
publish date:  August 9, 2011

It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone— and her future full of peril.

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose— hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire— is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes— or be left without any future at all.


These futuristic fairy tale retellings have become a favorite genre of mine.  I love all the ways you can take a classic story from the past and throw it into an unknown future.  Sleeping Beauty is perfect for that.

Be prepared to be completely annoyed with Rose for like the first two-thirds of the book.  Once the reason for her obnoxiously passive personality is revealed, I promise you'll have no choice but to forgive her.  I felt so heartbroken for her and for everything that she had endured throughout her upbringing.  Her parents are some of the most evil parents I have encountered in a YA book.

A Long Long Sleep was a dramatic debut from Anna Sheehan.  I look forward to see what she comes up with next.  I'm happy to see it doesn't look like it's the next in A Long Long Sleep Series.   High Five for Sheehan for writing what looks to be a stand alone book!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blog Tour- Review and Giveaway: Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster

Giveaway Details:
Ms. Foster has generously offered 4 books (e-books) to giveaway.  I have 2 e-copies of Come Back to Me, 1 e-copy of Chasing Amanda and 1 e- copy of Megan's Way.  4 lucky winners will be chosen at random using Random.org.  Since these are electronic books, this will be open internationally.  Just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address and preference of title (if you have one). This will be open until 12/31.  Good Luck!

Author: Melissa Foster
Publisher: Greenforge Books
Date of Publication: November 2011

Tess Johnson has it all: her handsome photographer husband Beau, a thriving business, and a newly discovered pregnancy. When Beau accepts an overseas photography assignment, Tess decides to wait to reveal her secret—only she’s never given the chance. Beau’s helicopter crashes in the desert. 
Tess struggles with the news of Beau’s death and tries to put her life back together. Alone and dealing with a pregnancy that only reminds her of what she has lost, Tess is adrift in a world of failed plans and fallen expectations. When a new client appears offering more than just a new project, Tess must confront the circumstances of her life head on.

Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing honor killings find Beau barely alive in the middle of the desert, his body ravaged by the crash. Suha, a doctor, and Samira, a widow and mother of three young children, nurse him back to health in a makeshift tent. Beau bonds with the women and children, and together, with the help of an underground organization, they continue their dangerous escape.
What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.


Come Back to Me is the latest book by Melissa Foster.  Come Back to me is a beautifully written and heart wrenching tale.  It is really two stories in one.  First, Tess is waiting for her husband to return from assignment and finds out she is pregnant.  While trying to cope with how this will change their 5 year plan, she find out he has been killed.  The struggle with how she comes to terms with not only her pregnancy, but putting her life back together was very realistic. I could really feel her internal struggles.  The second story is of Beau and his struggle to get back to the woman he loves.  The situation he finds himself in was written very well.  Ms. Foster was able to realistically convey the horrors of war to the reader as well as the cruelty that some women encounter in the area.
Come Back to Me is a lot more intense than the last book I read by Ms. Foster.  I have to admit that I enjoyed the book until the end.  It wasn't the ending I would have liked to see and I'm not sure I walked away satisfied.  Despite that, it is a compelling read and one I know fans will enjoy.  I look forward to seeing what Ms. Foster has in store for us next!

About the Author:
Melissa Foster is the bestselling, award-winning author of three novels, Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and WoMen's Literary Cafe. She is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan’s Way. Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written a column featured in Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa is currently working on her next novel, and lives in Maryland with her family. 

Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod. 
My Books 
My Website
Follow me, Facebook, Twitter, FB Fanpage
Chat w/me on The Women's Nest
The WoMen's Literary Cafe, Where readers and authors unite! (for men & women) 


Melissa Foster Books

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Night Eternal by Guillermo DelToro & Chuck Hogan

Authors: Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Narrator: Daniel Oreskes
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Audio by Harper  Audio)
Date of Publication: October 2011

It's been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in The Strain and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation. There has been a mass extermination of humans orchestrated by the Master—an ancient vampire possessed of unparalleled powers. The future of humankind lies in the hands of a ragtag band of freedom fighters—Dr. Eph Goodweather, Dr. Nora Martinez, Vasiliy Fet, and Mr. Quinlan, the half-breed offspring of the Master who is bent on revenge. It’s their job to overturn this devastating new world order. But good and evil are malleable terms now, and the Master is most skilled at preying on the weaknesses of humans.

Now, at this critical hour, there is evidence of a traitor in their midst. . . And only one man holds the answer to the Master's demise, but is he one who can be trusted with the fate of the world? And who among them will pay the ultimate sacrifice—so that others may be saved?

The Night Eternal is the final installment in the vampire trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.  I have been anxiously awaiting the last book and I was not disappointed.  The series as a whole is definitely worth a read.  I listened to all of the books, narrated by Daniel Oreskes.  I think the audio books made them more exciting for me.  

It is now two years later and the vampires rule the earth.  A lot has changed and hope seems to be gone.  Everyone is malnourished, stressed and over tired. Can they save the world? You learn a lot more about the vampires and the Master in this installment.  I liked the mythology behind them.  The biblical tie-ins were interesting and a unique take on the origin.

I have read varying reviews that range from a great ending to a so-so ending.  Personally, I loved how it ended.  I thought everything was as it should be.  The thing that I liked the most is that nobody was safe and anyone could go at any  moment. (Not a spoiler, because I won't tell you who...) It wasn't wrapped up in a nice neat package.  The ending was messy and filled with uncertainty.  While I normally like my HEA's, I walked away feeling satisfied.  

I definitely recommend this one and the series as a whole..  Full of action and suspense and nasty vampires, I hope you loved it as much as I did. I do hope if they make a movie, that they do 3 separate ones.  I would hate to see anything left out.

3 Holiday Novellas

Today, I have 3 M/M Christmas novellas from Silver Publishing! Enjoy!

Tears for Christmas
Author: Freddy McKay
Date of Publication: December 2011

After his partner dies, Dan is left to care for their six-year-old son. Gabriel is a new volunteer at a shelter and meets a 'client' running scared. Can Gabe teach Danny to love again? Or will Dan keep running?

Tears for Christmas is a very sweet story about loss and second chances.  Dan has been trying to cope with the loss of the love of his life as well as trying to raise his son.  Once he meets Gabriel, he sees the possibility of a second chance at love.  He only has to allow himself to reach for it.

I loved Dan and Gabe together.  Gabe was so patient with Dan and I was really rooting for them.  This story takes place over the span of a year.  I think that this would have made a great full length novel, because I wanted to see more of the relationship between Dan and Gabriel.  I felt with the length, there was somethig missing. But I was still satisfied with the HEA.  I definitely recommend this one.

Mr. Popsalos
Author: Lisa Worrall
Date of Publication: December 2011

Luke Fisher has been a single parent for six years. During those six years, he has become painfully aware that the moment you reveal that you have a kid, you immediately become less dateable. Rather than set himself up for the inevitable fall, he just doesn’t date. But it doesn’t matter, because he has everything he needs; a beautiful son, a good job, and a supportive family. He doesn’t need anything or anyone else…does he? 

He doesn't think so until two weeks before Christmas, when he meets Jamie in a bar while out with some colleagues. The man is undoubtedly the hottest thing Luke has ever seen and one glance into Jamie's beautiful eyes tells him the feeling is mutual. But will the attraction fade once Jamie finds out about Reggie? After an amazing night together, Luke decides to pre-empt the heartache and throws away Jamie's number, thinking he will never see him again…


As with most novellas, I wanted more after I read this one. Mr. Popsalos was a really cute story.  Jamie and Luke are cute together.   I loved the ending.  Luke definitely gets a life lesson..don't always assume everyone will react the same when they find out you have a child.  I would have liked to see more of the relationship, beyond just the hope of a HEA.  But, for a quick story that leaves you with a smile, this is totally worth checking out.

White Rain
Author: J. R. Loveless
Date of Publication: December 2011

Brand has spent the last four Christmases without the one man he loves more than anything. After Kia left for college, everything changed. Can Brand forget Kia, or will Santa Claus bring him what he wants most for Christmas?

Brand has been in love with his best friend, Kia, for years. But when Kia left for college, everything between them changed. Kia stopped returning his phone calls and letters and Brand knew his friend had moved on without him. But how could he forget Kia? When he arrives home Christmas Eve to find Kia on his doorstep, his world shifts once more. Kia begs for forgiveness, a forgiveness that Brand isn't sure he has in him. Can he accept Kia's apology, or will the white rain bury his heart in ice forever?


Have you ever wanted to have a second chance with that lost love?  In White Rain, Brand gets to do just that.  This is a sweet story and while it is short, I felt like I got to know both characters well enough to believe their relationship.  I liked the idea of the letters that Brand gets to read to see what Kia has been up to over the past four years.  Give this one a shot, you won't be sorry.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson & Richard Dilallo

Authors: James Patterson & Richard Dilallo
Publisher:  Little, Brown & Company (Audio By Hachette Audio)
Date of publication:October 17th 2011


The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died five years ago, Gaby's children have drifted apart, each one preoccupied by the turbulence in their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married-and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day—she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.
But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise—she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.

So far, the only James Patterson books that I have read have been mysteries.  The Christmas Wedding was a nice change of pace.  Mr. Patterson and Richard DiLallo have made a great writing team and created a very sweet story involving family and love.  Gaby announces to her kids that she is getting remarried, but the catch is that they have to come home for Christmas to find out who the groom will be.  Even the groom won't find out until that day.  The entire situation was handled so well and so sweetly that I just couldn't help but smile after the reveal.  It also helped that out of the three suitors, she chose that one I liked the most.

I think the thing that really appealed to me the most is that her children's lives were not at all perfect.  They all had issues that they were wresting with and found that turning to famly was the way to help them get through the battle. I kept finding myself rooting for them all. While not everything was solved in the end, I was left with the feeling up hope for all four families.

This is a great holiday read. The audio was great, with 4 different narrators.  I thought that was a nice touch.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Giveaway Details:  
Ms. Chand has generously offered 1 copy of Farsighted to giveaway to one lucky winner. This will be a .PDF file so it can be open internationally.  I will run this until December 28.  Just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address.  Good Luck!


Author: Emlyn Chand
Publisher: Blue Crown Press
Publication Date: November 2011

Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all. 

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.



Farsighted is the debut novel by Emlyn Chand.  After reading the synopsis, I was very interested in reading it.  I had high hopes for Farsighted, but I will admit that I didn't like it as much as I was hoping I would.
What I liked:  I really liked the idea for this story.  I haven't read many books from the point of view of a blind person.  I thought that the author did a great job of getting you into Alex's life and getting a sense of how he "sees" the world.  I also liked the different types of "gifteds" that were in the book.  Each was unique and interesting.  I especially liked Simmi's gift of being able to influence people's emotions.  The twist at the end was unexpected and a nice touch to the ending.

What I didn't like:  I felt like the story was a little disjointed.  It didn't flow well for me.  I found parts of the book were a bit slow and didn't add much to advance the story.  I also thought that some of the scenarios in the story came out of nowhere and the reactions of the characters weren't ones that seemed logical to me.

The ending of Farsighted leaves room for a sequel, so I'll probably  pick up the sequel when it comes out.  I look forward to seeing what happens to Alex, Simmi, Shapri and Dax.

About the author:

Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky! 

Check out the trailer for Farsighted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZjskE5zjzM&feature=youtu.be

BUY LINKS:


Small Town Christmas (anthology)

Authors: Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsey, and Katie Lane
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Date of Publication: November 2011

Three heartwarming holiday stories
to prove that love is the greatest gift of all

Kissing Santa Claus
NASCAR driver Logan Perrish returns to Lucky Harbor, Washington, with love in his heart and a ring in his pocket. But can Sandy Jansen forget the past and give him a second chance? Or will Logan be spending another Christmas alone?

I'll Be Home for Christmas
After ignoring the advice of Miz Miriam Randall, local matchmaker, Annie Roberts expects another hum drum holiday in Last Chance, South Carolina. But when a stray cat arrives in the arms of Army sergeant Matt Jasper, a calico named Holly just may be the best matchmaker of all.

O Little Town of Bramble
All Ethan Miller wants for Christmas is to celebrate in Bramble, Texas, with family and friends. But when his childhood neighbor, Samantha Henderson, comes home for the holiday, Ethan realizes that the girl-next-door could be the girl of his dreams.


Small Town Christmas is a short, sweet anthology with stories to get you in the mood for Christmas.  Of the 3 stories, I liked Kissing Santa Claus the best.  It was the only one where I felt the couple really felt anything for each other. There was enough back story between the two to feel their HEA.  The other 2 stories were so-so. 

I'll Be Home for Christmas, was just a little unbelievable. Stranger shows up in the town and is invited to stay with the ex-girlfriend of his best friend who was killed in action. Instant love and a HEA? Nah didn't buy it. I felt it ended too soon and it needed more development between the characters.  I didn't like their HEA.   

The last one, O Little Town of Bramble, was just too fast.  I never felt the connection between the 2 characters.  There was discussion of a long time crush on both parts, but I never felt the connection between the 2 characters.  I also thought Ethan's parents were a bit cruel to their son toward the end.  

Anyway, it's a quick read, something to fill the time while you are waiting for Santa to arrive.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Untraceable by S.R. Johannes

by:  S.R. Johannes
published by:  Coleman and Stott
publish date:  November 29, 2011

16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.


This is one of the kinds of books I really like.  Grace is a strong female lead character, but she's still likeable.  She's strong through the wilderness skills her father taught her.  She's also strong in spirit and determination.  This book had good little tidbits of knowledge throughout that anyone, not just the young readers, should pick up.

The story was absorbing.  There were so many little subplots going on that the reader is hooked from the beginning.  It's a first rate thriller which is a little unique in YA, considering it's not paranormal or anything like that.  It's completely set in the real world.  I found that to be refreshing. 

I would definitely recommend this one.  However, if you're anti-love triangle...avoid it!!

Fracture by Megan Miranda

by:  Megan Miranda
published by:  Walker and Co.
publish date:  January 17, 2012

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

This book ended up taking a bizarre little path I wasn't expecting.  That's not to say it was a bad thing, because I found this book really impossible to put down.  Fracture is a dark story, but it pulls you under and holds you to the end.

Delaney was an interesting character.  I liked her.  I was appropriately frustrated with the relationship between Delaney and Decker.  I felt like there wasn't enough explanation about what was going on with her brain injury.  There was, but maybe I'm spoiled by books like Left Neglected by Lisa Genova that give detailed information.

Overall, I thought this was a good YA book.  Maybe not for the youngest YA readers, there's a few mentions of sex and language.  Nothing horribly bad, but not something you might want to hand like a 12 year old.  Couple that with the dark feel of the book, I think it's for the older YAs.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Throwback Thursday - The Cove by Catherine Coulter



Author: Catherine Coulter
First published in 1996 by Jove



Sally St. John Brainerd is on the run from the authorities, who want to question her about her possible involvement in her father's murder. FBI Special Agent James Quinlan goes undercover in the picturesque town of The Cove-home of the World's Greatest Ice Cream-where Sally seeks sanctuary. But The Cove and its elderly residents harbor sinister secrets of their own. After Quinlan and Sally discover two dead bodies, Sally vanishes, and Quinlan turns to his partner Dillo n Savich to rescue her from a place where no one should be held. Quinlan discovers she is indeed the key to a murder-but whose murder?

 The Cove by Catherine Coulter is a wild ride.  I really enjoyed it!  This book has so much going on in it that it is hard to talk about it without giving away major plot points.  Not only is there more than one murder, there is more than one killer.  Any book that keeps you on your toes is a great book.  I never knew who to trust.  This is a well thought out and well written mystery with a touch of romance.  Any fan of Ms. Coulter should seek this one out.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams

by:  Amanda Kyle Williams
published by:  Random House
publish date:  August 30, 2011

In the sweltering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer is pushing the city to its breaking point, preying on the unsuspecting, writing taunting letters to the media, promising more death. Desperate to stop the Wishbone Killer before another victim meets a shattering end, A.P.D. lieutenant Aaron Rauser turns to the one person he knows can penetrate a deranged mind: ex–FBI profiler Keye Street.
Keye was a rising young star at the Bureau until addiction derailed her career and her life. Now sober and fighting to stay so, Keye picks up jobs where she can get them: catching adulterers, serving subpoenas, chasing down bailjumpers, and dodging the occasional bullet. With multiple victims, little to go on, and an entire police force looking for direction, the last thing Keye wants is to be pulled into the firestorm of Atlanta’s worst nightmare.

The Stranger You Seek made it to my Top Ten of 2011.  Why did it?  Because Amanda Kyle Williams can write an awesome whodunit!  And I loved Keye Street.  I think fans of Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole will find a friend in Keye Street.  She's not as morose as Harry, but she's dealing with the same demons. 

I've read quite a few negative reviews of this book, but most of them seemed petty.  I thought this was a solid debut book.  Keye is a great character to start building a series around.  This book introduced enough about her to get me interested in the next book to see what questions it might answer. 

The Stranger You Seek was a book full of twist and turns.  The Who is a surprise you won't be expecting.  It's everything a reader wants in a thrilling mystery.

Mid-Winter's Eve Blog Hop

You are at stop #28.  The full list of participating blogs can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out Oasis for YA when you get a chance too!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  You will need to fill out the FORM below.  We have decided that for this giveaway we are rewarding our followers.  We are asking that you be a follower of this blog to enter the giveaway, either through GFC or Networked Blogs.

Today we have 4 different packs to choose from.  4 lucky winners will be chosen using Random.org.  Good Luck!

Pack #1 - Adult Mysteries:
1 HC copy of Triple Crossing by Sebastian Rotella , 1 ARC of The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams, and 1 ARC of Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon


Pack #2:- Debut authors:
1 review copy of Wallflower by Holly-Jane Rahlens, 1 signed copy of Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague and 1 PB coy of Delayed Flight by John J. Smith

Pack #3 - Adult Fiction:
1 PB copy of Wench by Colen Perkins-Valdez and 1 ARC of The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean.

Pack #4 - Young Adult
1 ARC of Pure by Julianna Baggott, 1 ARC of Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday, and 1 PB copy of Queens of all the Earth by Hannah Sternberg.