Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Online Reads! (In case you hadn't heard!)

I don't know who receives the Harper Teen emails but in case you don't I wanted to let you know that right now you can read Pretty Little Liars and The Poison Diaries for FREE!

Pretty Little Liars TV Tie-in Edition
By
Price:
$8.99
On Sale: 6/8/2010
Formats: Paperback Paperback E-Book

Book Description:

Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna.
Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. And Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful.
But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.
How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were and the naughty girls they are now. And guess what? I'm telling.
************************************************


The Poison Diaries
By ,
Price:
$16.99
On Sale: 7/20/2010
Formats: Hardcover E-Book

Book Description:

In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .
Jes

samine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.
When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas

About The Book:
(from Author's Website)

Whiter Than Snow, Sandra’s ninth novel,opens in 1920 on a spring afternoon in Swandyke,a small town near Colorado’s Ten mile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, sweeping up everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four children survive.

Whiter Than Snow takes you into the lives of each of these families. Ultimately, each story serves as an allegory to the greater theme of the novel by echoing that fate, chance, and perhaps even divine providence, are all woven into the fabric of everyday life. And it’s through each character’s defining moment in his or her past that the reader understands how each child has become its parent’s purpose for living. In the end, it’s a novel of forgiveness, redemption, survival, faith, and family.

What I Thought:

This is the first book I read by Ms. Dallas and I was NOT disappointed. (well I was kinda disappointed but not with the story...I'll explain later)

I found the book to be very serious in nature; the subject matter of the story really made you think and at times was just heart wrenching.

Sandra Dallas was able to make you see each place and feel each emotion along with her characters. I found there to be a lot of sadness in the story but a lot of hope shining through. The ending was kinda sad (the disappointing part) but hopeful at the same time.

Overall, it was an excellent read. I'll be checking out more books from Ms. Dallas.

Giveaway:

Thanks to the publisher I'm able to offer one copy to a lucky reader!
-please leave a comment along with your email
-open till July 15th
-US addy only please

-extra entry for following one of my blogs on the sidebar :)

Author Spotlight: Horror Writer Scott M Baker

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Scott Baker on TCBL. I did a 2 question Q&A with him so let's see what he has to say!

<---The not very scary looking Scott with one of his gorgeous bunnies!

Q. 1: Where do you find inspiration?

I’m fortunate to have an overactive imagination with several dark recesses in it. I find inspiration everywhere. For example, in The Vampire Hunters, the battle scene aboard a subway train car between the hunters and the female master came to me while listening to The Tractors’ Baby Likes To Rock (Boogey Woogey Choo Choo Train). My latest novel about a zombie apocalypse was the result of a casual remark over lunch with a literary agent who mentioned the type of book she’d love to see. I thank God for that active if somewhat perverse imagination because it has given me enough material to generate a respectable bibliography.

Q 2: Why horror?

Horror/fantasy allows a freedom of creativity that’s not possible with other genres. Mystery writers need to follow police procedures. Techno-thriller authors have to get the technology correct. Even those who write Sci-Fi have to keep their stories within the realms of science fact. But horror novelists can let their imaginations run wild. There are no limits to how evil you can create your villain. There are no restraints on the conflicts your heroes have to endure. There are no boundaries to the level of gore and amount of blood.

Here's a bio:

Born and raised in Everett , Massachusetts , Scott M. Baker now lives in northern Virginia with his wife and six house rabbits. He has authored several short stories, including “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” which appeared in the autumn 2008 edition of the e-zine Necrotic Tissue; “Cruise of the Living Dead,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ Dead Worlds: Volume 3 anthology (August 2009); “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly,” which appeared in Living Dead Press' Christmas Is Dead anthology (October 2009); and “Denizens,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ The Book of Horror anthology (March 2010). Scott recently contracted with Shadowfire Press to publish The Vampire Hunters trilogy as an e-book. The Vampire Hunters was published in March 2010, and The Vampire Hunters: Vampyrnomicon will be published this August. Scott has also finished his fourth novel, Rotter World, detailing the struggle of a small band of humans and vampires trying to survive after a zombie apocalypse.

And here is where you can find out more about Scott and his work:

blog: http://scottmbakerauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000252439528&ref=profile

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/scottmbakerauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/vampire_hunters

Monday, June 28, 2010

PR and Giveaway: Glee Gum Make Your Own Kit

What We Thought:
We received the Make Your Own Gum Kit which you see above and boy did we have fun with it! It was certainly a fun AND educational activity for the family.This would be a great rainy day project or just when you want to beat the heat and stay inside. I also think this is a good project for homeschoolers too!
I really like that this product is actually good for you! There's No Aspartame in Glee!
Like I said we had a blast! But be warned this is a super sticky activity. :)

Here's some info on the kits:
Our activity kits for children are fun and educational. They are great for science classes, birthday parties, scout troops, and home schools. Kids can make chocolate, chewing gum, or gummy candy and learn a lot in the process!
Here's a little info on Glee Gum which you can of course, buy premade:
Glee Gum is all natural chewing gum made with sustainably harvested rainforest chicle. It comes in SIX great flavors: cinnamon, peppermint, tangerine, bubblegum, spearmint, and triple berry. Glee Gum is the #1 healthy alternative to synthetic chewing gum and bubble gum! With no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners (no aspartame), or preservatives, it's easy to chew Glee-fully!

Visit Glee's Website here.

GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to the folks @ Glee Gum I'm able to offer one lucky reader a kit of their choice! How awesome is that!?

-Open to US residents only
-Ends July 15th
-Please leave a comment telling me which kit you would like to try along with your email addy so I can contact you if you win!
-Want a few extra entries? Well you can "like" Glee Gum on Facebook or you can follow them on Twitter!
You can also get an extra entry for following my family blog: Cajun Mom's Home and Family
**review sample provided by Glee Gum

MG Review and Giveaway: Cyber Writers and The Zebra Of Life by Karen Kostlivy


What I Thought:

This was a cute young reader/middle grade book! The author created a world intertwined with fantasy and a little magic that kids are sure to enjoy. This is probably a good one for those reluctant boy readers since there is plenty of "action!"

I enjoyed watching these characters come together despite their differences to save a village. It had a great message of working together to overcome obstacles. I think kids will definitely find this one exciting and entertaining!

About The Book:
(from Amazon)

Mason Witt, a skateboarding American teenager catapults himself into the greatest adventure of his life after reading the plight of a new Cyber Writer from Africa. Lutalo knew he would come so he sent Mason an urgent plea for help. His village has lost its precious Zebra of Life and his father has gone missing in the pursuit of the evil men who stole it. Here begins this thrilling adventure of two boys, a smart- talking panther, and an amazing zebra that sustains life. Come and join Mason and Lutalo on this fantasy adventure ... follow the arrow. This fantasy adventure guarantees to delight and entertain young readers as they take an incredible journey through the heart of Africa and learn about courage, family, friendship, trust and loyalty.

Book Info:

Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: 3L Publishing (April 26, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615362265
ISBN-13: 978-0615362267
Review Copy: Author

About The Author:

Karen Kostlivy was born and raised in Northern California. She graduated from the University California Davis with a degree in Rhetoric and Communication. She enjoys spending time with her family and listening to her two sons Camron and Masson play guitar. After a successful career in the private and public sector, Karen decided to return to a former passion, writing and creating stories for readers of all ages. She happily resides in Yuba City California with her husband Davis and youngest son.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the author I have 3 SIGNED copies of this one to giveaway! I also have 2 signed posters and some swag!!

So 2 winners will receive a book/poster/swag and one winner will receive a book/swag!

-open to US residents only
-ends July 15th
-to enter please leave a comment along with your email addy so I can contact you if you win!

Review: Vampyre Kisses by Elizabeth J Kolodziej

Book Info:

Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Eloquent Books (May 11, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609116054
ISBN-13: 978-1609116057
Review Copy: Author

What I Thought:

Elizabeth's first novel was really interesting for me. It involved werewolves, shifters, witches, vampires, gods, and slayers! It was an intriguing mix that worked well together.

The author managed to mix folklore and legend into a modern story that still encompassed the history of supernaturals. I actually learned a few things that I was not familiar with!

I really enjoyed how each chapter was told from a one of the main character's point of view. It kept the story fast paced and interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed this one and recommend that paranormal fans check this one out!

About The Book:
(from Amazon)

Vampyre Kisses is an enthralling story about a young woman named Faith, who seems content with her life, but deep down craves more excitement. Then a mysterious man named Trent enters her world and everything changes. Surprising to Faith, Trent is a green-eyed vampire from Ireland. She is even more amazed to find out that she is a witch, and the last of her kind. Faith learns that she is destined to restore her witch line and becomes more powerful as she gains confidence and knowledge, but danger lurks everywhere -- especially when unknown assailants steal the most important gems from the vampire master and werewolf royalty. Now surrounded by a world filled with mystifying vampires and werewolves, can Faith gain enough power to help her friends and rescue the stolen gems?

You can find out more about the author and her book at www.vampyrekisses.com/

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Treasures In My Mailbox...from the last two weeks...


For Review:

Infinite Days

The Chosen Historian
Rise Of The Fire Tamer
Twice Tempted By A Rogue
Zoey Zeta
Zan-Gah
Huge thanks to the authors and publishers who sent these my way!
I'm really excited about all of these! Leave me a link or a comment sharing what you got this week! :)
**Thanks To The Story Siren and The Printed Page for hosting the Mailbox meme's!

Review: The Wolf Next Door by Lydia Dare

Book Info:

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402236964
ISBN-13: 978-1402236969
Review Copy: Publisher

What I Thought:

Lydia Dare throws out another winner with The Wolf Next Door! I absolutely adored the first two books in this trilogy and this one was no exception. All I can say is FINALLY! If you've read the first two you'll know what I mean. There was a ton of buildup to this one IMO and I was happy with the way it ended up. The characters that Lydia Dare creates are just wonderful and I've fallen in love with each and every one. If you haven't checked out these books yet then I think you're missing out!

About The Book:
(from Amazon)

They can't even be in the same room together...

Ever since their failed elopement years ago, Prisca Hawthorne has taunted, insulted, and in every way tried to push him away. If only her heart didn't break every time Lord William Westfield left her...

But staying apart is even worse...

Lord William throws himself into drinking, gambling, and debauchery and pretends not to care about Prisca at all. But when he returns to find a rival werewolf vying for her hand, he'll stop at nothing to claim the woman who should have been his all along.

Can Prisca forgive the unforgivable, or are the moon-crossed lovers going to be forced into a battle of wills that could be fatal?

About The Authors:

Lydia Dare is the writing team of Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson. Both Tammy and Jodie are active members of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. They are working together on their next paranormal historical trilogy as Lydia Dare, which will be released by Sourcebooks Casablanca in Spring 2011! For more information, please visit http://www.lydiadare.com/.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Zoobies PR and Happy Birthday Eric Carle!

Today is children's author Eric Carle's birthday and I thought it would be the perfect day to post my review on the Hungry Caterpillar Zoobie! The Zoobie company sent this to me for review because I thought it would be a PERFECT storytime buddy! In the upcoming picture you'll see that it is!

My kids were beyond thrilled when it came in because it's like a stuffed animal, pillow, and blanket all in one. They've been draging it with them everywhere they go! It's soft and made sturdy which I really liked since I have to throw it in the washer now and again. Another great feature is that the blanket can be connected by a zipper to the caterpillar and stuffed inside. I LOVED that!

Here you can see what it looks like "assembled" and by that I mean with the blanket zipped inside and the velcro attached. Just like a stuffed animal right?

Here are my kiddos with the blanket in use and you see my son "sleeping" with the caterpillar LOL! Since it is Eric Carle's birthday we made a trip to the library and came back with ALL of these books...all by Mr. Carle! They really do love his fun books.
Here you can see the blanket and caterpillar again....but it gives you a much better idea of what it looks like. :)


These come in all themes and so many different animals that there is probably something for everyone. If you'd like to find out more about Zoobies you can visit www.zoobies.com and check out what they have. I think these would make GREAT gifts!

Book Spotlight on 'Annabel' by Kathleen Winter

I'll tell you all that I am pining for this book right now! I recently saw it on Goodreads and started researching it because the synopsis sounded so intriguing.

Synopsis Here:
(from Anansi website)

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret -- the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows to adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self -- a girl he thinks of as Annabel -- is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life.

Now does that not sound like a completely captivating story!? This one is being published in Canada right now and yes, I'm trying my hardest to get my grubby little fingers on it. It's not being published in the states till Spring 2011...I don't think I can handle the wait!

Here is the press release:
(from Anansi)

On Saturday, June 26Th, 2010, we want YOU to head out to your local bookstore or hop online and buy a copy of Kathleen Winter's brilliant new novel, Annabel. Booksellers, bloggers, and reviewers across the country are raving about the book -- get in on the buzz and help us make this book a bestseller!

What else can you do?
Join the Annabel Facebook group.
Follow us and Kathleen Winter on Twitter.
Tweet about the book using the #Annabel hashtag.
Vote for Annabel in the Atlantic Canada Reads competition.


If you want to read an interview with Kathleen they have one on the Anansi site here.

There is some seriously great insight into the writing of the book so you should check it out. Actually, you should just check out everything. :)

YA Review: The Phantom Diaries by Kailin Gow (book 1)








What I Thought:

Once again I thoroughly enjoyed Kailin's work! The Phantom Diaries is considered YA but I recommend it for older teens because there are a few suggestive areas. I didn't have an issue with it but I'm an adult YA reader. (I know there are a lot of us!)

I love the way the author writes about her characters. She gives you enough to get a feel for them but not to much where you get tired of hearing about them. She always creates real and flawed characters. The only problem I had was that I thought the main character's speech was a little to "refined" for her hometown LOL! (and I can say this because I'm from around the area) Other than that I totally enjoyed ALL the characters.

The storyline is great; being based on hauntings of the Phantom of The Opera in a teenage/contemporary world made for good reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed it and can't wait for book 2!




About The Book:

What happens to the Phantom after the tragedy at the Paris Opera House is the basis for this fantastic tale of The Phantom Diaries, loosely based on Gaston Leroux’s classic, The Phantom of the Opera, but with a new tale and a modern twist. This new series for older teens and young adults is told through the eyes of 18 year-old Annette Binoche, who lands a job at the New York Metropolitan Opera House as a seamstress’ assistant only to become the lead singer of the Opera House, with the help of the mysterious, yet highly-seductive Phantom.





About The Author:

Kailin Gow is the author of over 30 books for all generations, but her specialty is the young adult/teen genre. Her books have been recommended by PBS Kids, the PTA, homeschooling organizations, and on the Best Teens Books list. She is a mentor for young women, has founded 3A for Autism (Actors, Artists, and Authors for Autism), and runs a publishing and production company known as Sparklesoup, a mid-size publisher and production company.
Her latest young adult fiction book is The Phantom Diaries.
You can visit her website at http://www.sparklesoup.com/ or join her Facebook Author page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kailin-Gow/44373033814.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review: Brainbox by Christian Cantrell

Book Info:

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 45 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Cantrell Media Company (February 2, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B0036ZAHB8
Review Copy: Author

What I Thought:
This was another really neat short story by Christian Cantrell. I'm really becoming a fan of his work.

Brainbox was great...it's *hmmmm* dystopian fiction and really makes you think about how we might all just end up destroying ourselves one day through our own idiocy.

So again, short story fans may want to check this one out! I really liked it!

About The Book:
(from author's website)

When the Earth begins cooling unexpectedly, humanity is left with only a few degrees of habitable latitude along the planet's equator. After establishing themselves as the three remaining powers in the world, the Americans, Chinese, and Russians eventually turn on each other in hopes of securing the last of the Earth's resources for themselves.
In an attempt to break the decades-long stalemate, the American military turns to Miguel dos Santos — a brilliant Brazilian roboticist — for help in creating the ASRA, or Autonomous Self Replicating Asset. The secret to the ASRAs is their neurological processors, also known as the brainbox, which enables the machines to "combine the logic and reasoning of a computer with the desperation and hate of the human soul." But as Miguel reluctantly carries out his orders, it becomes clear that he has other plans for what remains of humanity.

About The Author:

Christian Cantrell is a Product Manager for Adobe. He loves books, movies, writing fiction, and the occasional video game. He can be reached at his first name, dot, his last name at gmail, or you can follow him on Twitter. You can also check out his Google Profile.

Where you can find the Story:

Amazon (Kindle version)
iBooks (just search for "Christian Cantrell" or "Brainbox" in the iBooks Store)
EPUB (free - no DRM)
HTML (free)

Review: Firefly Island by Daniel Arenson

Book Info:

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 446 KB
Publisher: Moonoclipse; 2 edition (August 15, 2007)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B003FGXLHU
Review Copy: Author

What I Thought:

This one was very good. It reminded me of Grimm's fairy tales and the like.

It was very much an adult fairy tale because there was bloodshed and corruption in the story; but it was very good!

Daniel's writing is really imaginative and enjoyable. He's also a very descriptive writer. I found that in the beginning of the book I needed to pay close attention as I was introduced to all the characters who we find out are connected in some way.

Overall, I thought it to be an enjoyable read and a great adult fairy tale.

Awesome Cover Alert!

While I like the cover I think this cover is great!!!! I found this while searching for the cover image and I think this one really gives an idea of the story. I like the artwork also! If you order the hardcover copy this is the image you'll get. I LOVE it!


About The Book:
(from author's website)

In Firefly Island, you'll meet Aeolia, a girl enslaved to an ogre on a faraway farm. With the magic of fireflies, she must escape the ogre, then journey to find her long-lost brother. Join Aeolia as she explores Firefly Island, a strange land of firefly magic. Her quest takes her from hills swarming with ogres, to jungles full of fierce tree warriors, to castles brimming with knights in armor, to an underworld of outlaws on dark city streets, to twisting dungeons, and into landscapes of flame and war.

"A very promising debut... I would highly recommend this book."
-- FantasyBookSpot.com

About The Author:

Daniel Arenson sold his first short story in 1998. Since then, dozens of his stories and poems have appeared in various magazines, among them Flesh & Blood, Chizine, and Orson Scott Card's Strong Verse. Firefly Island, first published in hardcover in 2007, is his first novel.


Want to sample the book?
Read Chapter One.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PR and Giveaway: Balloonatiks DVD!

What We Thought:
My kids loved this DVD! They loved the characters and were really entertained by the story. Seriously, they watched it about 10 times between the time we received it and now. I liked the fact that it featured "teenagers" trying to do the right thing.
It was cute, it was fun, and it got the stamp of approval from my kids!
Want to know more about the Balloonatiks?

Visit http://www.balloonatiks.com/ where you can find Balloonatiks characters, check out Balloonatiks gear, play games and have fun!

A Giveaway!

Thanks to the Balloonatiks people I can offer one lucky reader a chance to win a "Balloonatiks: The Collector's Set" DVD!
-open to US residents only
-ends July 1st
-please leave a comment along with your email so I can contact you if you win
-for 1 extra entry spread the word and leave a link :)


More Info on The Ballonatiks:
They're five ordinary teens mysteriously transformed into rubbery, shape-stretching super heroes who take on any of the evil-doers that dare to threaten Hot Air City. Meet The Balloonatiks -- Flator, Squeeker, Airbrain, Sparky, Bouncer and Leaky -- as they star in their very first animated comedy-adventures!

Produced in state-of-the-art CGI animation and a unique style of presentation, Balloonatiks: The Collector's Set is a long-awaited addition to The Balloonatiks' growing catalog of popular kids' entertainment, which already includes two paperbacks, a series of comics and games, and an interactive website.

Review: The Sand Dragon by Michael F Stewart (and giveaway!)

Book Info:

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 338 KB
Publisher: Double Dragon ebooks (March 25, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B003E2UQGO
Review Copy: Author




What I Thought:

OK, I'll go out on a limb here and say that this was one of the most unique "vampire" stories I've read in a while. (I say that for several reasons)

This one uses Native American myth and legend as the basis for the storyline. I really enjoyed Michael's use of his characters in this one because he made them seem very real.

The "vampires" in this story were, in my opinion, very original. I've never (personally) read of ancient bloodsuckers controlled by the life force of an ancient dragon.

This was certainly a horror story, and if you like gore in your horror then you should check this one out. It really packs a punch!


About The Book:
(from Amazon)

The discovery of an immense pterosaur skeleton lures paleontologist Kim Axon to the tar sands near her childhood home of Fort Mic. But Kim's not the only one drawn to the find's siren call, and the others are coming for a very different reason. Fort Mic, where Kim's father was murdered long ago, is both blessed and cursed by the shadow population who gravitate to the area for cheap trailers while they mine the sands for oil. Townsfolk begin to fall sick. Fearing the spread of the strange disease, the new doctor quarantines the town. Now alone, the broken community must rise above its past to battle outsiders who do not fear the return of an ancient evil, but worship it.


Giveaway!

Thanks to Michael I'm able to giveaway an ebook of this one! The file will work on Kindle or kindle apps for PC, phone, etc.

-If you'd like to enter the please leave a question or a comment for the author.
-open everywhere
-ends July 1st

Review and Giveaway: Learning To Stand by Claudia Hall Christian



Book Info:

Paperback: 356 pages
Publisher: Cook Street Publishing (January 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982274688
ISBN-13: 978-0982274682

Review Copy: Author

What I Thought:

This was an interesting thriller. I kind of wish I had read the first book in the series; it seems I may have had a better understanding of the characters.

I'm certainly not complaing though! I enjoyed reading Alex's story and following her throughout her journey to regain herself.

I'll say that this is one of those stories that you must pay attention to while reading. There are numerous players in this story to keep up with.

Overall it was an enjoyable read and I think it's worth checking out.

About The Book:

(from Amazon)

Last year, Major Alexandra "The Fey" Hargreaves lost everything and nearly lost her life. Now, everyone expects her to move on. Everyone, except Alex. Fragile, lost, and battered, she stumbles and falls. When a small child's life is in danger, only Alex can save him. Setting aside her grief, the horror of the past, and betrayal in the present, she finds the strength and courage to rally her team to rescue him. And Alex learns to stand again. Learning to Stand is another fast-paced, heartwarming novel in the Alex the Fey thriller series.

About The Author:

Claudia Hall Christian is a beekeeper who writes novels and serial fiction. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

Giveaway:

Thanks to the author I can give away one copy of this book!

-please leave a comment or question for the author

-please leave your email so I can contact you if you win

-ends July 1st

-open to US only (I have to find out about Canada)

Monday, June 21, 2010

PR: Bling Strands! (and a giveaway!)

What I Thought:
These are really neat! I received the purples ones in the mail and my daughter promptly made me put them in her hair. I have a few bits of advice on that but I'll get to that in a bit.
They are thin plastic "strips" that you basically tie on to one or two pieces of hair. At first I thought to myself..."this cannot possibly work or hold up!" Much to my surprise they are actually very tough. The ones I put in my daughters hair actually stayed in for about a week before we pulled them out. She loved them and everyone thought they were really cute. I brought her to the hairdresser (and we actually forgot one in her hair) who asked about them when she saw it.
Now on to my advice...read the instructions and if you don't understand them you should watch the video. It's not hard but if you don't do it right they will slip out. Tighten them from the end of the strip; if you don't they tend to curl. (but you can apparently treat them like hair once they're in. I'm not sure because my daughter doesn't use a flat iron or anything)
I think these would be good for prom, dance recitals, etc. They would work for any fun occasion!
Here is a picture (taken from the Bling Strands website) that you can see them in use. Here you can see they are being used as a dressy accessory.
For More Info Visit:
Giveaway!
Thanks to Lisa @ It's A Glam Thing I'm able to offer one package of Bling Strands to one lucky reader!
To enter:
-please leave a comment telling me what YOU think these would be good for.
-leave your email addy so I can contact you if you win
-open to US residents only
-ends July 1st

Review: 33 A.D. by David McAfee (vampires and controversy!)


Book Info:

Format: Kindle Edition
(also available for the Nook and @ Smashwords)
File Size: 421 KB
Publisher: Coelacanth Press; 1 edition (March 8, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B003BIGNRW
Review Copy: Bought

What I Thought:

This one was GREAT! If you prefer the old-time not sparkly vampires then you should really check this one out!

McAfee spins a wild tale about Jesus (yes, this is where I think the controversy could come in) and how he comes to be crucified. While it involves some strange storytelling I wouldn't call it anti-religious or anything. It's just a "twisted" version. (with evil vampires of course!)

33 A.D. was a really good read...not only because of the non-sparkling vampires (which I do love) but because hidden in this story was a message of keeping faith. Maybe not everyone would see that, but I certainly did. I recommend this one and I'll be checking out some of David's other work including The Lake and Say Goodbye To The Sun.

About The Book:
(from Amazon)

Jerusalem, 33 A.D. The vampires of the era have long sought to gain a foothold into Israel, but the faith of the local Jewish population has held them in check for centuries. When one of their own betrays them to follow a strange young rabbi from Galilee, the elders of the vampire race dispatch Theron, a nine hundred year old assassin, to kill them both.The rabbi's name is Jesus. Killing him should be easy.

Review: Animal behavior and Other Tales of Lycanthropy


Book Info:

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 587 KB
Print Length: 192 pages
Publisher: Coscom Entertainment (March 16, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B003CO48N6
Review Copy: Author

What I Thought:

While it has a long title it's a great collection of short stories! Keith delivers a great bunch of of werewolf tales in this book.

I REALLY enjoyed each story, with many being based on a different myth or legend. There was a good variety of tales ranging from semi-sweet (although I do believe that at least one person was mamed in each story) to totally freaky and gruesome.

If you're into old school werewolves with a modern day twist then I would check this one out.


About The Book
(from Amazon)

An excommunicated priest who hides a dark secret, one not even the dead will be able to keep. / The grisly death of a high profile doctor leads to an investigation into one man's psyche, and poses the question if he is a man at all. / A lone wolf whose only wish is to be a mother, but how far will she go? / After losing his beloved daughter, a man hunts the beast responsible, but soon realizes things aren't always black and white, and dark choices must be made. / For some, prom night is a chance to shine amongst peers, even get lucky, but for Steve Figura it's a chance to put an old myth to the test and exact some vengeance in the process. / Born a werewolf, Murphy Crane is about to discover there is something far deadlier stalking the streets of Homestead, Florida, than the beast scratching under his skin, yearning to be free. / A man searches for his missing brother, but finds a centuries-old curse instead. / Marcus's time in boot camp is coming to an end and in order to make the cut he'll need to find that animal instinct within, one primed for war. / When a young man takes his girlfriend to a nearby cabin for some alone time, they find a woman caged like an animal. Two's company. You know the rest. / Nicky and Jonah are just a couple of best pals looking to score the best Halloween costumes money can't buy. The price: one's life. / When Victor Bianchi's goons catch up to Jesse Barnes, he finds a kindred spirit in an unlikely place. / The moon is full. The beast is restless. Are you brave enough to answer the call?


You can find this one here on Amazon. It's only $1.59!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Question: Will e-books bring back the 'short story'?

This is the question that was brought up by one of the readers yesterday after checking out a short story review. Sheila Deeth who's blog can be found here asked that question and really made me think!
I certainly think she has a point! I read anthologies in some genres because I like short stories, but you wouldn't see me purchasing a $6.00 print book for ONE story.
Since having my Kindle I've received several short stories to review and I've really enjoyed them. Majority of them can be bought on Amazon for .99 and I'm willing to pay that. (especially if it's from an author that I've tried and liked)
So, my question to all of you is:
Do you think that e-readers will bring back the popularity of short stories? Are you willing to pay the .99 to read one?

Special Guest: {indie}pendent books "Why shop indie?"

Today's guest is {indie}pendent books who I asked the question: Why indie bookstores?
Melissa answers this question for us and she'll tell us a little bit about an upcoming author event!
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Why indie bookstores?

{indie}pendent books was formed in 2009 to not only help discover new authors, but to give them a more focused platform for selling their work to readers who are hungry for something new. All books featured on the site have been pre-selected so only the best of the indie community is showcased. At {indie}pendent books, the focus is not on filling our shelves with as many books as possible, but about making it easy for readers to find great books from authors they may not have experienced before. We are also constantly on the lookout for new authors and books to keep the selection fresh, so please check back often.

I created an indie bookstore because I have always been a fan of community based businesses. Independent bookstores can be relied upon for personal service by owners or employees, who are not only passionate about the books they carry, but often form friendships with its patrons. Through these friendships, store owners can better recommend books based on your likes and dislikes. These same owners care about finding just the right homes for each book rather than meeting some corporate quota. So stop by your local bookstore, say hi to the owner, and discover how enjoyable the experience of buying a book can and should be.

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Here's an upcoming event:

From Melissa:

I would like to invite everyone in the Tri-State area to join us on July 29th, 2010 for our first ever Indie Author Event. We have gathered six authors who will not only be displaying their books, but will be speaking on the benefits and battles of going independent. It will be held at Sparta Books in Sparta, NJ from 6pm – 8:30pm. Cheese and wine will be offered as well as an opportunity to win a package of signed books by the authors present. Please visit us at

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review: Anansi Island by Christian Cantrell

What I Thought:
*screams in frustration*
Wondering why that is? Well it's because I wish that this would have been a full length novel instead of a short story!
Christian wrote a wonderfully well-rounded short; I always wonder how authors do this. It seems to me that it's almost harder to write a short story compared to a novel. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so...
It was great; the storyline is something I could easily see as a movie! It would make for a great script!
For a short read it packs a big punch. I think the author should write a part two...even if it's just for me. *smile*
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About The Book:
(from author's website)

A quiet and remote wildlife refuge, Anansi Island was the perfect place for Laurel to escape her past. But throughout the island's history, its isolation also made it the perfect place to hide things the world was never meant to see.

As Laurel finds herself entangled in the island's newest and most bizarre chapter, she must not only solve its mysteries, but also survive long enough to pass them on.
This short story by Christian Cantrell mixes science fiction and horror with endearing and enigmatic characters who can only solve the mysteries of Anansi Island by facing their worst fears.
You can visit Christian's website here and learn about more of his work.

*review copy provideed by author

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

True Blood and Philosophy: An excerpt!



I recently received this one for review and I am excited because I'm a big fan of this series. I love the books and the TV show. True Blood Season 2 dvd's are sitting there waiting for me to watch them!

Julie over at FSB Media sent me this excerpt from the book to share with readers. You may want to check it out!

Introduction: "If a Tree Falls in the Woods, It's Still a Tree -- Ain't It?"

Edited by George A. Dunn and Rebecca Housel with series editor William Irwin,Editors of True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)


When Amy Burley gives Jason Stackhouse a quick tutorial on the "circle of life" (you know, squirrels eating nuts, snakes eating squirrels, and so on), using the decor of Merlotte's as a visual aid, he exclaims, ''Jesus Christ, I want to lick your mind!" Our boy Jason may be better known in Bon Temps for his good looks and "sex abilities," but it's phrases like "lick your mind" that draw fans to True Blood's most earnest, if sometimes tragically misguided, seeker of life's meaning and purpose (or at least his life's meaning and purpose). In fact, "lick your mind" perfectly captures the blend of smarts and sensuality in the brilliant, sexually charged HBO series that inspired us to produce the book you hold in your hands, True Blood and Philosophy.

It all started with Charlaine Harris's Dead until Dark, published in 2001, which launched her series of critically acclaimed, best-selling supernatural mystery novels and introduced the world to a most unlikely sleuth, an attractive Louisiana barmaid and mind reader named Sookie Stackhouse. Harris's work caught the attention of Alan Ball, the award-winning screenwriter and director, who built his reputation on dark and daring works like American Beauty and Six Feet Under. With a healthy dose of edgy humor and deep compassion for his characters' frailties and foibles, Ball made a career of boldly delving into taboo subjects like death and transgressive sexuality, creating works that were brazen both in their unabashed carnality and in raising tough questions about the human condition. True Blood, Ball's adaptation of Harris's Southern Vampire Mystery novels, takes the same mind-licking approach as those earlier works. In the world of True Blood, as in the pages of Harris's novels, we encounter a wonderful array of richly drawn characters struggling to make sense of their bewildering world and their own sometimes equally bewildering desires and hungers. For those of us who hunger for insight and understanding, their stories offer a lavish banquet of philosophical morsels into which we can sink our proverbial fangs and from which we can draw both sustenance and delight.

As it turns out, philosophy has a lot in common with True Blood. Like the vampires, shapeshifters, and other supernatural beings that pass through Bon Temps, philosophers are often regarded as deviant characters due to their habit of overturning expectations and tempting us to think outside conventional boundaries. Like True Blood's mind-reading detective Sookie Stackhouse, philosophers are unafraid to venture into dark corners of the human mind, where they sometimes unearth uncomfortable truths that others prefer to leave buried. And like the indomitable Jason Stackhouse, many philosophers engage in a quest for the meaning of life that often seems quixotic, an interminable pursuit that's been known to lead us down more than a few blind alleys -- as Jason himself can testify. But like True Blood and Harris's novels, the philosophical quest can also be one of life's most delectable pleasures. Don't take our word for it, though. You hold the evidence in your hands.

When you surrender to the lure of True Blood and Philosophy, it won't cost you a drop of blood, but your perception of reality may be expanded and enriched so dramatically that you'll wonder whether you somehow ingested V-Juice. Okay, maybe that's too much to expect. But we are confident that your enjoyment of True Blood will be considerably enhanced by the time you spend with us pondering some of the more perplexing philosophical quandaries raised by the supernatural adventures of Sookie and her paranormal pals. For example, "pro-living" crusaders like the Reverend Steve Newlin denounce vampires as unnatural, but what does that really mean? If it's just another way of saying that vampires are evil, then why does evil exist in the first place? And can vampires -- or any other creatures for that matter -- be considered inherently evil?

Beyond these classic questions about the nature of evil, True Blood offers a fresh spin on the vampire genre that opens a rich vein of new philosophical queries. In the world envisioned by Ball and Harris, those conundrums-on-legs we call vampires have "come out of the coffin" and are attempting to live openly alongside human beings. Given the imbalance of power between human beings and vampires (who, in addition to superhuman strength and speed, also have a troubling knack for "glamouring" humans out of their free will), can humans and vampires belong to the same political community and participate in society as equals? Are the plights of gays and other minorities similar to the situation of True Blood's vampires as they come out of the coffin and claim their place in the sun -- um, better make that in the shade? The perennial evils of hatred, bigotry, and scapegoating -- those not-so-supernatural scourges of our species -- appear in a fresh light when their victims and perpetrators include not only ordinary human beings, but also vampires, shapeshifters, "fang-bangers," fanatical disciples of the Fellowship of the Sun, and, last but not least, a maenad as beguiling as she is depraved.

And let's not forget that the same show that stimulates our thinking with such succulent moral and metaphysical quandaries is also a wickedly sexy romp through the perilous precincts of love and lust. Could True Blood possibly have something to teach us about the paths and impediments to erotic fulfillment? Granted, most of us probably have desires considerably tamer than those of the more colorful denizens of Bon Temps, but still . . .

We don't promise that True Blood and Philosophy will supply the conclusive answers to all of these questions -- or even to Jason's classic mindblower, "If a tree falls in the woods, it's still a tree-ain't it?" Philosophers have been debating questions like these since long before Godric was a twinkle in his maker's eye, and every answer has been shadowed by some doubt. It's the questioning itself that's mind-licking good. So invite us across your threshold. We want to think bad things with you!

The above is an excerpt from the book True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) edited by George A. Dunn and Rebecca Housel with series editor William Irwin. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2010 George A. Dunn and Rebecca Housel with series editor William Irwin, editors of True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)

To learn more about the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, visit www.andphilosophy.com, and follow the series on Twitter and Facebook.

Winners!

If you see your name here and you have time please email me at ksg_amg(at)yahoo.com with the name of what you've won and your mailing addy. Thanks!
Forbidden Passion
Barbara E.
nfmgirl
The Pack Prize Pack
SiNn
Montana Destiny
Cecile
Dawn Hullender
Penny
The Pitch
Teresa
Welcome To Harmony
pixie13
Costume Club Memberships
Parajunkee
lisann
Street Boners
butter-bean
Wendi P
Alexandra
Knight Of Passion
Little Tesoro
Fish-wife
Shannon
Thanks so much to everyone who participated! Keep an eye out for upcoming giveaways!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review and Giveaway! : Flowerz In Her Hair (hair accessories)

Thanks to Amy I was able to review these awesome hair accessories!
Here you can see my daughter in the crocheted beanie and an interchangeable flower clip.
We recently went to a boutique where they were charching $20.00-$25.00 a piece for the flower clips! Luckily, you can purchase them for MUCH cheaper through Amy's website...
Flowerz In Her Hair really has great prices and a great selection of items.

We LOVED these pieces because not only are they interchangeable but because you can wear any of them by themselves!
I received a beanie, a black flower clip, and a white one. With just those 3 pieces we were able to create several different looks. I liked the vesatility very much! I should also mention that all of the sample products we tries out were very well made!
Here she is with the white and black flower attached to the hat.

A Giveaway!

Amy is offering a $20.00 E-Gift Certificate to her store!

In case anyone would like to go shopping, she's also offering a discount to TCBL readers!
Use code: booklady and receive 15% off an order of $10 or more, also all orders over $10 ship for free.

If you'd like to enter this awesome giveaway here's what you need to do:
Visit Flowerz In Her Hair and tell me at least one item that you liked. That's it!

-open to US residents only
-ends June 30th
-please leave an email so I can contact you if you win

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mailbox Time.....

Let's see...
For Review:
Vampyre Kisses (can't wait to read this one; Thanks Elizabeth!)
The Hypnotist (from TLC tours)
True Blood and Philosophy
Hex Hall
Gumbo Justice (A New Orleans based mystery!)
The Reapers Are The Angels (This look SOOO Good!)
My Give A Damn's Busted
Other
Shadowed Summer (Can't wait to read this one; Thanks Saundra!)
Dark Divine (signed) and nail polish won from an #ARMChairBEA giveaway @ The Book Bluff
It was a super great week here and I can''t wait to read these! Thanks so much to the PR people, publishers, and authors who sent these my way!
So what did you get? Leave a link or a comment so I can check it out!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

PR: Sex and The City 2 Soundtrack

Thanks to the One2One Network I was given the opportunity to review the Sex And The City 2 Soundtrack! *clapping*
What I Thought:
This was a fun soundtrack! I'll tell you this much... it has a very Morocan/Indian/Middle Eastern (?) sound to it in my opinion. So if you don't enjoy that then I advise not picking this one up. I realize that it's not everybody's thing. I enjoyed it though and listened to it while cleaning the house because it really is upbeat with an occasional "slower" song. They have a really GREAT line up of singers as well which is what initially attracted me to it.
You can find the soundtrack on Amazon here.
More info on the soundtrack:

SOME of the artists include:
Alicia Keys, Dido, and Liza Minnelli

Soundtrack Website: http://bit.ly/O2Osatc2sdtk
Link to Buy: http://bit.ly/O2Osatc2Amazon
Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/O2Osatc2Fbook
Win a call from Sarah Jessica Parker: http://bit.ly/O2OSJPcall

Other Sex and the City related "stuff":

The Carrie Diaries is on my wishlist...I haven't gotten my hands on it yet but I really want it! I was a big fan of Sex and The City when it was on TV.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Bitter Frost by Kailin Gow (Blog Tour)

What I Thought:
Fairy fans...this one is for you! I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to review this book!
Kailin writes beautifully and weaves a magical tale that you won't forget. Yes, it reminded me of other fairie stories I've read, but all of them remind me of each other as I think the basic research is the same. Bitter Frost had so many elements that I did find unique; I don't want to spoil the story so I'll just say that there are way more than fairies that go to and fro.
I loved these characters; Kailin was able to pack so much feeling into these teens that you almost felt like you knew them. The setting of the story, Feyland, is just wonderfully depicted through the author's writing. The storyline itself was a first for me and I really enjoyed the spin on "lost love" and "loyalties."
I recommend this one to fans of fairy books because I thought it was just awesome! I can't wait to jump back into this world with book 2!
About The Book:
All her life, Breena had always dreamed about fairies as though she lived among them...beautiful fairies living among mortals and living in Feyland. In her dreams, he was always there the breathtakingly handsome but dangerous Winter Prince, Kian, who is her intended. When Breena turns sixteen, she begins seeing fairies and other creatures mortals don t see. Her best friend Logan, suddenly acts very protective. Then she sees Kian, who seems intent on finding her and carrying her off to Feyland. That's fine and all, but for the fact that humans rarely survive a trip to Feyland, a kiss from a fairy generally means death to the human unless that human has fairy blood in them or is very strong, and although Kian seemed to be her intended, he seems to hate her and wants her dead.

**review copy provided by the author

The Alison Dare Blog Tour! (and a giveaway!)

Hey everyone! Welcome to TCBL if you're following Alison's blog tour! Maybe you 've stopped in from Marci at Serendipitous Reading ? Right now we're on Day 5 of the tour. If you have any questions the author, J. Torres, will be stopping in later. If you scroll on down you can find out what I thought about these cute books!



Alison battles the Gator in Bayou Country!

What I Thought:

These were cute! My little girl (8) liked the stories very much...I know that she enjoyed the fact that they were shorter and she could put it down each time she finished. These are a good introduction to comics for kids. They brought back memories for me also...I used to be an Archie fan and it's been a long time since I've read something like this.

I liked the character of Alison; she's a talented tween who was tough. strong, and independent. It was kinda like......tween Indiana Jones meets Scooby-Doo? The adventures reminded me of something along those lines

Overall, my daughter liked it and I thought it was good. These books are something to check in to and see if it's right for you or your child.




Tundra Books is Having a contest:

We need your help! Alison Dare is not your typical 12-year-old girl. She’s the daughter of world-renowned archaeologist Dr. Alice Dare and the masked superhero the Blue Scarab, not to mention the niece of international spy and master of disguise Johnny Dare. Action and awesomeness are in her blood, so she is eager for an adventure around the world! Here’s what you can do:


If you click on the pick you can get the full size image or you can go HERE.

There are two different poses for Alison Dare, but you only need to choose one (although if you wanted to do both, go for it!).

Please cut out the Alison Dare figure you have chosen. Feel free to colour and decorate.
Put Alison Dare in front of a famous landmark, in an exotic location, or in the face of danger. You can also be creative with common everyday objects.

Take a photo (or photos) of Alison Dare! There is no limit.

Send your photo of Alison Dare and witty caption to tundra@mcclelland.com before June 30, 2010.
For more info you can visit the Tundra Books website or get your own copy here.
Thanks for stopping by! The next tour stop is Anna at Book Nerds !
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But Wait! There's more! I'm giving away a copy of Alison Dare: The Heart Of The Maiden to one lucky reader!
If you would like to enter please leave a COMMENT or QUESTION for J. Torres or Alison Dare. (yep, you read that that right LOL!)
-open to US/Canadian residents only
-Ends June 25th
-please leave a way for me to contact you
**review copy provided by publisher