Friday, February 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Giveaway & Review: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

Giveaway Details:  We are giving away one copy of this amazing story to one lucky winner (US only).  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: NAL Trade (Penguin)
Date of publication: February 2014

September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her? 

September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?

A Fall of Marigolds is a beautifully written and compelling book.  I  truly think this is one of the best books I have read so far this year. The story alternates between Clara's story in 1911 and Taryn's story in 2011.  Both women have been directly affect by immensely tragic events in New York.  Since then, they have both been living in kind of a limbo.  Afraid to let go of the past and move forward.  While the events are 100 years apart, their lives "after" are so similar.  A beautiful scarf makes its way into the hands of both women and their lives change forever.

I will admit that I was reluctant to read this book since it deals with the horrific events of 9/11.  I know that is a day we will all remember.  It's also a day that I think affected every American in some way.  I have pretty much avoided any book of movie having to deal with that subject because it still chokes me up all these years later.  Reading Taryn's experience of that day was hard, but I thought the author did an amazing job of describing the events of that day.  Similarly, I found reading about the events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire difficult.  I had to look that one up as I had never heard of the awful fire that took the lives of over 140 factory workers.

I won't give away any details of either women's story.  I think it would ruin it for readers.  There are a few surprises for both women that come when they are ready to look at the truth of the events and how their lives  and views on love have been affected.  I found myself tearing up at a discovery that Taryn makes.  It isn't often that a book makes me cry.  As it says in the book, "It (love) is given to us not to hold onto or hide from, but to give away....Love is the only true constant in a fragile world."  Such true words! The ending was very bittersweet, but I loved it .

This is a beautiful book that I highly recommend.  I hope you love it as much as I did.    Make sure to enter our giveaway to win a copy of this amazing story!

About the author:

Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her childhood in just two houses.  Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight.

She attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with my family, music, reading great books, and traveling.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop  Cohosted by Jinky is Reading and Kathy as I'm a reader...Not a Writer.

You are at stop #72.  For the full list of participating blogs go here.

We have 4 prizes today to 4 lucky winners.  To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter below.  US only please.  Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Pack #1: Jet  & Rule both by Jay Crownover

Pack #2: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis & The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell

Pack #3: Foreplay by Sophie Jordan & Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams

Pack #4: The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly & The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

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Throwback Thursday: Maggie's Man by Lisa Gardner

Author: Lisa Gardner writing as Alicia Scott
First published in 1997by Silhouette

When shy and reserved Maggie Ferringer was called for jury duty, she never expected to be kidnapped by an escaped convict. But when Cain Cannon, disguised as a prison guard, pulls a gun, she has no choice but to be taken hostage. Cain claims that he’s innocent of killing his girlfriend six years ago and now he wants revenge on the people who put him behind bars.

Soon, Maggie becomes more than just a hostage to Cain. As they slowly begin to share the secrets of their respective pasts, Maggie discovers that she wants to fight for Cain’s freedom—because he just might be the kind of man she could love.

 If you can ignore the horrible dialogue and the unlikable heroine, this actually wasn't a bad story.  The biggest problem I had with this one was the heroine.  Maggie was so annoying.  She was the definition of a Mary Sue Sunshine.  While I'm all for optimism, she went a bit overboard.  She was just ridiculous.  For example, she is being kidnapped, yet she argues with Cain about stealing a van because it might belong to someone who really needs it.  That is just one example of her cluelessness.  There are multiple examples, believe me I could go on.  I did like Cain.  I felt really bad for his situation.    He was actually a nice guy who had a crappy and bizarre upbringing.  He lost 6 years of his life for a crime he didn't commit.  I think if this had been a straight mystery/thriller it would have been a better book.  The romance part just really didn't work for me.    Maybe I'll try one of her later books instead.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be With Me by J Lynn

Author: J. Lynn
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: February 2014

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

I was really looking forward to this one after reading Wait for Me.  I am happy to say that I liked Be with Me just as much.  Tess is now on her "Plan B" after injuring her knee in a dance recital.  All she wants to do is dance, but she may be facing the loss of her dream.  She also now has to see Jase everyday.  Jase knows he should stay away from his best friend's little sister, but she is just too tempting.

While Jase was an idiot for a lot of the book, I did like him.  I'm not normally one for angsty stories, but Jase and Tess's story was understandably angsty. Once I found out what held Jase back and had him running scared, I decided to cut him some slack.  Tess was really good for him.  She taught him how to open himself to love again.  I felt really bad for Tess.  It broke my heart to watch her realize her dreams for the future were over.  I think having to reshape how you see your future would be hard for anyone.  The chemistry between the two was very hot.  I also thought they had some great banter between them.

One thing that the book does touch on is domestic abuse.  Because of Tess's background, she is able to spot the signs of abuse in her roommate's relationship with her boyfriend. I was happy to see that Tess addressed it with her roommate and didn't ignore it.  There are a few surprises in the story that I don't want to reveal in my review.  I think it would ruin it.  Let's just say that if you liked Wait for Me, you'll like this one! I can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

RELEASE DAY SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: THE CHASE by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg


THE CHASE by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
Bantam – Random House
On sale: February 25, 2014

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling authors of The Heist, return in this action-packed, exciting adventure featuring master con artist Nicolas Fox and die-hard FBI agent Kate O’Hare. And this time around, things go from hot to nuclear when government secrets are on the line.

Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals.

Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills of their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad.

A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.



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Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O’Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.
Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and

Connect with Janet

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Google +Fancorps


Lee Goldberg is a screenwriter, TV producer, and the author of several books, including King City, The Walk, and the bestselling Monk series of mysteries. He has earned two Edgar Award nominations and was the 2012 recipient of the Poirot Award from Malice Domestic.

Connect with Lee

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  | Google +

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sail Away With Me by Kate Deveaux

Author: Kate Deveaux
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Date of publication: December 2012

Sizzling shipboard romance — Jody throws caution to the wind as she lets go of her inhibitions and indulges in one magnificent week of pleasure. Passions surge, lovers tangle and two lives will never be the same again.

Jody knew she was in trouble the minute she stepped on board the gleaming cruise ship and into the arms of the sexy celebrity guest, Taggart Keith. For just one week, Jody gives into the seductive flames of desire and succumbs to Taggart’s charms. But when she returns to land, can Jody resist the temptation of even more pleasure?

Sail Away with Me is an entertaining story.  It was a pretty quick read filled with steamy and very erotic love scenes.    Jody is a recently divorced mom of one who goes on e cruise with her three friends.  There she meets Taggert and they are instantly attracted to each other. Their romance was a whirlwind, but then a lot of the best romances are, right?

I did like Jody and Taggert together.  I thought they were good for each other.  It was hard for Jody to believe that she could have more than just a fling with Taggert.  He definitely fell hard for her.  I was rooting for them to end up together. At the same time, I was also applauding Jody when she walked away from Taggert.  Taggert definitely needed to work his stuff out before they could be happy.  While I liked the romance and the characters, I felt like there were too many love scenes. They did get a little routine after a while.  I would have liked to see less of them and more character interaction.  

I do recommend this book. It was a fun read.  It's definitely an over 18 book.  I look forward to seeing more from This author in the future.

About the author:
Kate Deveaux is a contemporary, erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. It was after readingJane
Eyre in high school, that she became hooked on the idea of writing about romance, excitement and drama. Kate has been penning stories, from the sensual to the sinfully sexy, ever since!
A former wedding planner, Kate has always been “in love” with love!  She was inspired to transition from writing racy short stories to full length manuscripts after meeting other authors in the romance world at industry workshops, conferences and events. Now a multi published contemporary romance novelist, Kate is a member of Savvy Author, Romance Writers of America (RWA) as well as their erotic romance chapter, Passionate Ink. Born in London, England, Kate has lived in both the U.K. and the U.S. She and her husband currently reside in Arizona.  When she’s not writing or reading, Kate can be found on the tennis court—yes, there’s even “love” in that game too!
Find out more about Kate at her website, connect with her on Facebook, follow her onTwitter, and see what she’s pinning on Pinterest. You can also find her on Goodreads.

Kate’s Tour Stops

Monday, February 10th: Offbeat Vegabond
Tuesday, February 11th: nightlyreading
Wednesday, February 12th: Booksellers Without Borders
Thursday, February 13th: The Pen Muse - author interview
Wednesday, February 19th: Hesperia Loves Books
Monday, February 24th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, February 25th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, February 25th: Curling Up by the Fire
Thursday, February 27th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Tuesday, March 11th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Joint Review: These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Author: Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Date of publication: December 2013

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

These Broken Stars was a pretty good read.  I felt like it was fast paced and never really stalled anywhere for me.  I actually liked that most of the story took place on the deserted planet.  I gave the main characters a chance to really develop a relationship.  I loved that Tarver and Lilac didn't get along at first.  Their friendship and love developed over time.  It was nice that there was no inst-love and no love triangle!

It's kind of hard to review without giving away key plot points.  I liked the couple of twists that the characters find out about the planet and what really happened there.  I also loved how it ended. The book alternates between Lilac and Tarver's point of view with the story continually moving forward.  Sprinkled throughout the book are excerpts from Tarver's interview about what happened on the planet.  I liked that concept.  Autumn and I both listened to the audio and it was well done with two different narrators.  I look forward to reading the next in the series, This Shattered World.

Like Kari mentioned, I liked the alternating view points.  I particularly liked the interviews at the beginning of each chapter.  It gave the reader a glimpse into how Tarver was treated by his superior officers and what happened off the planet.  

There were some pretty amazing plot twists in this book.  In fact, I kept thinking to myself that these authors were pretty rough.  However, I think they kept expectations fairly realistic.  Like if this were to happen, what's a realistic reaction?  Not some kind of romantic reaction and I liked that.  I liked the verbal interplay that Tarver and Lilac had too.  It was fun to listen to.
I would definitely recommend it and look forward to the next book.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Today as part of Jill Shalvis's Once in a Lifetime blog tour, we have a fun top 5 list of favorite quotes from the book as well as a pretty steamy excerpt.  Enjoy them after my thoughts on the book.  Also make sure to check out the publisher's giveaway below!

Author:Jill Shalvis 
Publisher: Forever Mass Market (Grand Central Publishing)
Date of publication: February 18, 2014


After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done . .
My Thoughts:

Once in a Lifetime is the 9th book in the Lucky Harbor series, but it is the first one I have read. While there were times that I wish I had a bit more back story, I found myself  not caring so much about that since I was enjoying the story so much.  This book was hilarious, endearing and heart wrenching all at the same time.  I loved Ben and Aubrey together.  Their HEA in the end had me a little teary-eyed.  

I really felt for Aubrey because people in town think she is kind of a bitch.  The town seems to have a long memory and gossip doesn't allow it to forget the past very easily.  She stumbles into an AA meeting and is struck by the step about making amends.  She decides to try to balance out karma by righting wrongs from her past. I think we all have things that we regret doing in our past.  I thought Ben was good for her and she for him.  She helped him to realize that some excitement in life is good and helps him to open his heart to love again.  

The peripheral characters in the town rounded out the story nicely.  I really want to go back to the beginning and start at the beginning of Lucky Harbor's journey.  I especially want to see how Jack and Leah and Luke and Ali got together.  

Top 5 Favorite Quotes from ONCE IN A LIFETIME
1. He was in jeans, wearing a tool belt slung low on his hips, his T-shirt clinging to him. He seemed a little irritated, a little sweaty, and just looking at him Aubrey got a whole lot hot and bothered in places that had no business being hot and bothered by this man at all.
 2.  He was back in his tool belt, which was made of leather and crinkled all male-like when he moved. Plus, it forced his jeans a little low on his hips. She couldn’t stop staring, because there was something about the way he wore his clothes that suggested he’d look even better without them.
3.  She had no idea how long they kissed—and kissed—but she didn’t think about stopping until she ran out of air. Breathing hard, she slowly opened her eyes and stared directly into his.
     They’d heated. Darkened. And something else. He wasn’t looking so relaxed now. In fact, he was looking the opposite of relaxed. He looked…feral.
     And she was his prey.
 4. “You’d better say it again,” he said very quietly.
     “That you don’t want me.” He gave a slow shake of his head. “Because you’re looking at me like I’m dinner and you haven’t eaten all day.”
5.  His mouth should be illegal in all fifty states, but she bet he could do things with it. Things she wanted.


“You’re incredible, Ben, you know that? You’re an insensitive, first-class jerk, and–”
He leaned in. “And what?” he asked, voice dangerously low.
“And…” Stymied at her ridiculous and constant reaction to him, Aubrey put her hands to his chest to give him another shove, but somehow got her wires crossed and she fisted his shirt instead.
“Dare me,” he said softly.
Oh, how she hated how well he knew her. “I dare you to kiss me,” she whispered, and then to make sure he did, she put her mouth on his first… 

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About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Social Media Links:

Buy Links:

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Fixer by T. E. Woods

Author: T. E. Woods
Publisher: Alibi (Random House)
Date of publication: February 2014

Never a doubt. Never a mistake. Always for justice. Never for revenge. She’s the person you hire when you need something fixed—permanently. With a strict set of criteria, she evaluates every request and chooses only a few. No more than one job per country, per year. She will only step in if it’s clear that justice will not be served any other way. Her jobs are completed with skill and precision, and never result in inquiry or police investigation. The Fixer is invisible—and quite deadly. . .

The Fixer was a pretty good book.  I was a bit skeptical when I started it and almost put it down.  I felt a bit lost as the story waffled between several characters that seemed to have no connection.  I'm glad I didn't stop.  The story-line was very well laid out and well written.  There was a really nice twist in the middle of the book that I didn't see coming!  I loved the ending as well.  In a weird way, I liked the idea of the Fixer.  As per her rules, she only "fixes" serious injustices, taking care of the worst offenders.  Not that I condone murder, but sometimes the legal system doesn't work like it's supposed to.

The characters were really strong.  Mort is a great detective that you can't help but like.  His love for his late wife made him very endearing and his grief over his missing daughter was heart breaking.  I liked how his mind worked through the case.  I loved what he did for "The Fixer" in the end.    I also really liked the psychologist, Lydia.  Her no nonsense way of handling patients was refreshing.  But I also liked that she was flawed and harbored a self destructive secret.  It made her more human. 

definitely recommend this debut and I look forward to reading more from this author.  

About the author:

T. E. Woods is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Her scientific writings are well represented in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts. Her literary works earned her first place for Fiction at the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. Dr. Woods enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking, and hanging around the house while her two dogs help her make sense of the world. Her habit of relaxing by conjuring up any manner of diabolical murder methods and plots often finds her friends urging her to take up knitting.
Connect with TE Woods:
Facebook | Twitter
Connect with Alibi:
Facebook | Twitter

 T. E. Woods’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 27th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, January 27th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller - Author Guest Post & Giveaway
Tuesday, January 28th:  The Best Books Ever
Wednesday, January 29th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, February 4th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, February 4th:  Booksellers Without Borders
Wednesday, February 5th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Thursday, February 6th:  She Treads Softly
Monday, February 10th:  Books in the Burbs
Wednesday, February 12th:  A Fantastical Librarian
Thursday, February 13th:  The Written World
Monday, February 17th:  Booksie’s Blog
Monday, February 17th:  Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, February 18th:  Mystery Playground
Wednesday, February 19th:  Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 20th:  The Reader’s Hollow
Friday, February 21st:  From the TBR Pile
Monday, February 24th:  The Novel Life
Wednesday, February 26th:  Luxury Reading

Thursday, February 20, 2014

We by Michael Landweber

Author: Michael Landweber
Publisher: Coffeetown Press
Date of publication.September 2013

After an accident, forty-year-old Ben Arnold regains consciousness in the kitchen of the house he grew up in. Only he feels different, lighter somehow. Something is horribly wrong. Ben is swept into the arms of his mother, who he hasn’t seen in twenty years. She calls him by his childhood nickname, Binky. He sees a younger, unbroken version of his father. His estranged brother is there, reverted back to his awkward teenage self. Finally, adding horror to his confusion, he glimpses his older sister Sara as she runs out the door to meet her boyfriend.

Sara, whose absence he has felt every day since her death. Ben is a mere hitchhiker, a parasite in the brain of seven-year-old Binky, and his younger self is not happy to have him there. It is three days before his sister will be attacked. Ben knows he has to save Sara but first he must gain Binky’s trust. Even if he can get Binky to say the right words, to do the right thing, who will believe that a young boy can foretell the future?

The story begins with Ben having suffered a head injury and he wakes up in his 7 year old body back in the past.  Once he realizes where and when he is, he tries to convince Binky (his 7 YO self) to save his sister from being gang raped in 3 days.  You see, when he wakes up in Binky's body, Binky's mind is still there. So they spend a lot of time talking to each other, although Binky doesn't really understand what is going on.  That made two of us.

I did like the idea of going back and getting a chance to redo things in the past.  It was interesting how Ben sees things differently as he looked at those long ago events through his adult eyes.  One thing did bother me though and maybe it's the mom in me.  I was a bit disturbed at details that Ben tells Binky about sex and things related to the subject.  I know he is really talking to himself, but I'm not sure I would want to tell my 7 year old self all of that detail.  That is a bit young to know those things in my opinion.  

I have to be honest, I'm still on the fence about my feelings about We.  It is definitely not what I expected.  I thought I was getting a sci-fi-ish story.  Instead the book was more psychological.  There were parts about the id, ego and superego that I really didn't get.  I will admit to being confused at times and in the end, I'm not sure if I totally understood what the author was trying to accomplish.  The ending left me perplexed as to what really happened.  Was it all a dream or did he change the course of history? After sitting on the book for a few days, I'm not sure I can answer that one.  In the end,  I have to say that this was just an OK read for me.  I liked the concept, but not the execution.
About the author:

Michael Landweber is the author of the novel, We, which won a ForeWord First award for best debut novel.  His short stories have appeared in a variety of places, including Gargoyle, Fourteen Hills, Fugue, American Literary Review, Barrelhouse and Ardor, and have been listed as Notable in The Best American Nonrequired Reading anthology.  He is an Associate Editor at the Potomac Review, and writes TV and movie reviews for Pop Matters.  Landweber has also worked at The Japan Times, the U.S. State Department and the Associated Press.  He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two children.

Connect with Michael at his website,, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Michael Landweber’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, February 3rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 5th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, February 6th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, February. 11th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, February 12th: Happy. Pretty. Sweet.
Monday, February 17th: Melody & Words
Wednesday, February 19th: The Book Wheel
Thursday, February 20th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, February 21st: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, February 24th: Suko’s Notebook
Wednesday, February 26th: Simply Stacie

Throwback Thursday: The Switch by Lynsay Sands

Author: Lynsay Sands
First published in 1999 by Leisure Books

When they first met Lord Jeremy William Radcliffe, Charlie and her twin sister, Elizabeth, were escaping from their uncle- taking turns acting the young gentleman to avoid detection. But Charlie couldn't help falling head over heels - and out of a window - for the handsome lord. Of course, that was only the beginning; Lord Radcliffe insisted on showing "him" and her lovely sister to London.

But how could he do that? With every touch, Radcliffe seemed unknowingly to incite indecent desires in Charlie, and his fraternal intent was certain to land her in a fine mess. Though it was a great game to play a boy, there was more fun in being female. And after one brush of his fiery lips when her guise was gone, Charlie swore to be nothing but his woman forevermore.

One of the things I love about Ms. Sands historical books is the humor that never lets up.  The Switch is a very amusing and at times confusing book. Confusing only when Charlie and her sister where playing each other.  Charlie and Beth are identical twins who are attempting to escape being sold into marriage by their uncle.  They decide to flee with one of them dressed as a boy.  They meet Radcliffe as they are fleeing and h takes them under his wing.

Radcliffe spends much of the book thinking Charlie is really a boy.  It was amusing to see his conflicting feelings toward Charlie as a boy and Charlie playing Beth.  It sounds more confusing than it is.  I did love how Radcliffe's plans for Charlie (as a boy) kept backfiring on him.  I think the brothel scenes were pretty funny.  I did think that I had the blackmailer all figured out, but I was pleasantly surprised to see I was wrong in the end.  It was a nice twist. The other characters in the book were a lot of fun.  This is definitely a book I would recommend!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

By:  Jeff VanderMeer
published by:  FSG Originals
publish date:  February 4, 2014

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

This book turned out to be totally not what I was expecting it to be.  I was expecting something vaguely post-apocalyptic, something kind of science-y.  This book ended up being really strange and really science fiction.  It reminded me a lot of YA dystopians where the population lives in seclusion and then they have to go "out there" and "out there" is totally crazy because of some wacky government conspiracy.  Arclight by Josin McQuein is probably the closest book I can think of that's somewhat similar.

It's about this expedition, the last in a succession of many, to go into this zone to check out what's going on.  Their mission is somewhat vague, just to kinda poke around and find the lighthouse and see what's changed since the last expedition.  They find all these strange plants that spell words and it's all really bizarre and trippy.  Then they start dying and it just gets more weird from there.

While this book was kind of odd and I was disappointed it's the first in a series, it wasn't a bad read.  I would recommend it to the sci-fi readers.  The post-ap and dystopian crowd might like it too, it seemed to have a bit of that air about it too.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones by Christopher Krovatin

Author:n Christopher Krovatin
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date of publication: September 2012

Ian was the one who chased the majestic buck into the forest. Kendra and PJ followed him. They all hoped to return to the hiking trail before anyone noticed they were gone. However, the mountain had other plans for them: dark, sinister plans that only nightmares are made of.

The Goonies meets The Evil Dead in this series about three kids who become separated from their backpacking group in the Montana wilderness and discover they are stranded in the heart of zombie country.

Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones finds Ian, Kendra and PJ on a 6th grade nature trip with their class.  When they get off the trail, they soon find themselves lost and in a battle for their lives.  It seems there are zombies in the hills.  Yep, another book with zombies. So, as you know, I usually find them hit or miss. I actually really enjoyed this book.

The book was fast paced and kept me engaged.  The story alternated between the three kids' points of view.  I thought the format worked well, especially since the story progressed fluidly as each point of view changed.  It was nice to see the different kids and how they reacted to the situations.  It's a good book about friendship as well.  All three of the kids are very different from each other and aren't exactly friends in the beginning.  The experience soon makes them realize what true friendship is all about.

Since it is a book with zombies, there is a bit of gore.  It was also pretty scary in a few places.  It's probably a level up from the Goosebumps series in scare factor.  The story was very clean and I think that it could be fine for mature sixth graders and up.  I look forward to reading the next book, Gravedigger: Terror Cove  to see how Ian, Kendra and PJ make out as Gravediggers.