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Monday, October 31, 2011

Three important things.

1. My giveaway for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop ends tonight at 11:59 Enter here if you haven't already!

2. Tomorrow is November 1st, and that means the countdown to my next huge indie giveaway event is on! I'll be posting a way for you to help spread the word and be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

3. This is my favorite Halloween video:

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bookie Brunch- Halloween Edition!

Welcome to this week's installment of Bookie Brunch! I hope everyone is having fun on the blog tour so far and is looking forward to Halloween tomorrow! Visiting me for brunch today are Jo from Fluidity of Time and Christina from The Book Addict! Let's dive right in and talk Halloween!

The first question open for discussion: What's your favorite spooky story? Alternatively, if you don't like spooky stories, why not?

Jo: I don't tend to read a lot of ghost stories or horror, although from time to time, I choose one, just to spice up my reading. I like Stephen King once in a while, although right now, my go-to horror author is Chelsea Cain.

Christina: I haven't read any spooky stories just regular paranormal.

Emily: If I'm left to my own devices, I tend to gravitate more towards the paranormal and urban fantasy sides of things as opposed to horror or ghost stories. I have read some excellent indie horror books, including The Sand Dragon by Michael F. Stewart from back in my BWB days. That one had me checking under the bed for awhile.

Do you have any other spooky/paranormal/ghost stories you'd like to recommend?

Jo: For something a bit different, Laura Bickle has a fun paranormal series. The first book is Embers: "Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders."

Christina: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast, and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl.

Emily: My idea of an awesome fall read is a book that makes me want to make some tea and sit down for a marathon session of reading under a big, warm blanket while it's all gray and cold and gloomy outside. With that said, I definitely recommend the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch- so far I've read and reviewed A Beautiful Blue Death and The September Society but there are two more books in the series after that and one due out on November 8th. It's a great historical mystery series- love it! Of course, you can't go wrong with a good and spicy paranormal romance either!

If you could dress up as any spooky book character, who would it be? What would your costume look like?

Jo: Ever since reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I'm totally set on coming up with a chimaera costume -- maybe some cool makeup and some horns or something.

Christina: Ridley from Beautiful Creatures- a skirt and a shirt and blond hair with pink in it oh and a lollipop.

Emily: I would totally be creepy Emily Grierson from A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner. You can read the entire short story here but suffice it to say she is a crazy, crazy lady. Miss Havisham has nothing on this lady.

Any other spooky things you'd like to discuss?
Jo: Nope! But I do love Halloween -- and it was fun to answer these questions! Thanks very much for having me!

Christina: Just have a Happy Halloween! :)

Since it wouldn't be brunch without some goodies, what's your favorite fall drink?

Jo: In the spirit of Halloween, and Brunch, I'm choosing a bloody mary today. :)
Emily: I'm not nearly as adventurous, sad to say- I'm going with a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.

Thanks for stopping by for brunch!  What spooky books do you recommend?
Let's talk about the brunch goodies - Halloween edition!

Now you won't have to wonder if the movie is as good as the book or not - win this classic novel and matching movie version. This set features a paperback edition of Frankenstein, with a new, beautifully designed cover and a DVD of the feature film, nestled together in a sturdy case. This could be a fun and cozy treat to include in Halloween parties or to enjoy on a winter night in.

Shown above: Quick description (http://tinyurl.com/4ye9rau) and trailer for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Details: A spooky read plus a dark movie that's a perfect match for chilly weather or a rainy weekend. To win this book and DVD set, please leave email info and thoughtful or interesting comment below. A winner will be picked at random.

Please note - open internationally, but DVD manufactured for Region 1 only. Check your region. (http://tinyurl.com/2vq26j)
International. Through December 15, 2011, 12 midnight EDT.

Goodies brought by: Sasha Soren (Random Magic) more information
Find Random Magic: Trailer
| Print Amazon | Kindle
Explore Random Magic: YouTubeTumblr | Twitter

You might also enjoy Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat (Oct. 23-31.) Feel free to stop by during the week for new treats every day from cool Bookie Brunch bloggers! Go trick or treating here!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Audiobook Review: Moonbane

Title: Moonbane
Author: Al Sarrantonio
Audiobook Narrated By: Kevin Readdean
Length: Unabridged
Publisher: CrossRoad Press
Genre: horror
Copy for review provided by the publisher via the narrator in anticipation of an honest review
Listen to a sample

Synopsis:When amateur astronomer Jason Blake and his son are out star-gazing one night, thousands of meteors suddenly fill the sky. Some of them fall nearby, but when Jason and Ritchie go to investigate, they are attacked by a werewolf-like creature, and Ritchie is injured.

This is a novel of relationships, of apocalyptic adventure, and very personal sacrifice. Fast-paced and gaining speed with each minute, Moonbane is a poetic novel that works on a number of unexpected levels, running the gamut from taut suspense to outright mayhem.

Just in time for Halloween, a spooky audiobook for your listening pleasure! I broke my unofficial cardinal rule of audiobooks with this one, which is that I read the print book first and then listen to the book afterwards, and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this book just fine. It was creepy, weird, horrific, and ponderous all at the same time, with some deft twists and elements that I didn't expect.

What starts off as father-son bonding time goes horribly, horribly wrong as poet Jason and his son, Ritchie camp out to watch a meteor shower that actually is the contamination of the earth by pathogens that cause lycanthropic madness. Richie is injured, and you can probably guess what happens next: he's infected, and he goes crazy.

That isn't a spoiler, believe it or not, because the real action in the story stems from Jason having to figure out just what the heck he's supposed to do now that he's got a lycanthrope for a son and the world' gone crazy. These meteors fell all over the place, you see, so the end of the world is literally unfolding in real time for Jason. My favorite parts of the story dealt with Jason trying to gain information and figure out how he's going to survive in his new environment, where he has to avoid all the typical post-apocalyptic pitfalls, like starvation, but also some new ones, like being eaten by werewolves. Nothing serious, I'm sure. He also should have gone grocery shopping a little earlier- doesn't it figure that the world starts ending before you have a chance to get to the store?

The author does a good job of communicating just how horrific the whole experience is for Jason without bogging the story down, and the narrator keeps the pace and flow of the story moving nicely as well. The story was long enough to be engaging and detailed but short enough to listen to in a day, which is nice. This isn't something that I necessarily would have picked up on impulse, just because of where my reading/listening habits tend to lie, but I'm glad it was brought to my attention. If you're looking for something spooky for your Halloween weekend, consider that need met.

Overall Grade:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Barbara Jean Hicks Says Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli, with a GIVEAWAY!

Before we get started, make sure to enter my Spooktacular Giveaway Hop giveaway! Five prizes, open internationally, runs through 10/31!

Happy Friday everyone! I have two excellent things for you today- first, an interview with Barbara Jean Hicks, author of one of my favorite illustrated books, Monster's Don't Eat Broccoli!! At the end, I have a signed copy of the book to give away!

Let's dive in!

WBiT: Introduce yourself, Twitter style! Describe yourself or your books in 140 characters or less.

Barbara: I seek to see thru many eyes & speak with many tongues. I am a poet first & then a teller of tales. I think, I feel, I wonder…& so I write!

WBiT: Tell us a little bit about your latest release, or your upcoming projects if you'd prefer.

Barbara: Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli has an interesting and unique back story. In most cases, an author sends her manuscript off to an editor at a publishing house, and if the editor likes it, she finds an illustrator she thinks is a good match for the text. She's like a matchmaker, in a sense, looking to make a good marriage--but in this case, the two parties aren't allowed to meet until after the marriage takes place! That's right--the author doesn't choose her own illustrator and is even discouraged from making any kind of contact with the illustrator until the job is done.

Broccoli happened differently. Erin Clark, the editor at Random House/Knopf who had recently brought my picture book The Secret Life of Walter Kitty to life, happened to be at the Random House offices in London and found a book project that had been contracted and then abandoned. It was a pop-up novelty book, which Knopf doesn't publish, but Erin fell in love with the monsters that British author/illustrator Sue Hendra had come up with. Like the good editor/matchmaker she is, she immediately thought my writing style would be a good fit for Sue's illustration style. She sent me Sue's dummy (a prototype with photocopies of sketches and and a few pieces of finished artwork) and asked me if I could come up with a story for Sue's adorable monsters.

The dummy was titled Monsters Eat Skyscrapers, and there were a lot of sketches of monsters eating things like cars, boulders, buildings--and trees that vaguely resembled broccoli. I instantly thought about the way my dad got us kids to eat broccoli by pretending we were monsters eating trees. From there the words flowed--I thought about it for a couple of weeks and wrote the text in a week, with very little revision. That is VERY unusual for me--I have other picture books I've spent several years writing and revising! I feel so fortunate that Sue had no problem giving up her text for mine, and that she re-drew many of her sketches to accommodate my text.

Once again bucking tradition, I'm very excited about a new picture book project I'm working on with illustrator Siri Weber Feeney. In this case I'm playing my own matchmaker! That's only because with the publishing industry in such flux, we've decided to publish Abelard and the Bad-Weather Why-Bother Blues on our own, as an e-book. Siri has heard my text for this story from the very first draft, probably four years ago now, and has crossed her fingers and held her breath along with me as two different publishers held onto it for quite some time, expressing strong interest--but ultimately not offering a contract. The text had long inspired images in Siri's mind, and I've always loved her artistic and design sensibility, so she was the first person I thought of when I decided to go this route. I have a little experience with e-books; about a year ago I took on the task of learning how to format one of my previously published romance novellas as an e-book and have now published two, available both through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (See http://barbarajeanhicks.com/booksforgrownups.htm for descriptions.) A picture book, of course, is entirely a different matter! I'm fortunate that in addition to being a wonderful artist and designer, Siri is also something of a tech wizard.

WBiT: What books (your own or others) do you recommend most often?

Barbara:If we're talking picture books: Sandra Boynton's Barnyard Dance and Doreen Cronin's Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. They are both wonderfully silly and so much fun to read aloud! My own Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli fits in both the silliness and fun categories, too. Read-aloud-ability is really important to me, both in books I read and books I write. For parents who love to read aloud and have a flair for the dramatic, I also recommend my picture book for older kids, Jitterbug Jam: A Monster Tale. Perfect for Halloween!

WBiT: What is your writing process like? Does it vary by book?

Barbara: The story above about the genesis and development of Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli is an anomaly. The writing process I describe on my website is more typical:

"Everything I know about writing, I learned from my cat. Look, leap and learn. If you've ever had a cat in your life, you know what I mean. My favorite cat, Miguel, was curious by nature. He had a nose for adventure, leaping into the unknown like an old-world explorer, learning along the way. And he had the scars to prove it. A writer, too, is a curious creature, always sniffing about for new ideas. Observing, reading, eavesdropping. Haunting favorite places and exploring new ones. Paying attention. For me, starting a story or poem is always an adventure, a leap into the unknown. I might start out with a curious bit of dialogue, or a vivid description, or a word or phrase that tickles my funny bone. Before I have any real idea where I'm going, I'm on my way. I let the writing take me wherever it wants to. Unlike some of my writer friends, I'm a seat-of-the-pants-er more than a planner. It's the way it works for me. A writer learns by doing. There's no substitute. It's only after I've plunged into a project that I begin to find out what it's really about. The act of writing teaches me what my poem or story is, and how it wants to be told, and why it matters. Slowly. Rewrite after rewrite. Not very efficient, I'm afraid. Messy. Unpredictable. Fun!"

For most of my writing life, from the romance novels I first published to the picture books I write now, this inefficient process has nevertheless served me well!

WBiT: Do you have a favorite story you've heard from a reader?

Barbara: My favorites are the ones from moms who tell me Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli has actually inspired their kid to eat their vegetables!

Thanks again to Barbara Jean Hicks for appearing, courtesy of Provato Marketing, for other stops on the tour please check www.provatoevents.com.

To enter to win a signed copy of Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli, leave a comment with a way to contact you if you win! I'll open this one internationally as well! Giveaway closes on Friday, November 4th at 11:59 pm EST. Good luck!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Pumpkin Roll

While you're here, why not enter my Spooktacular Giveaway Hop Giveaway? Five prizes are up for grabs and it's open internationally!

Title: Pumpkin Roll
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Page Count: 368 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: mystery
Copy for review provided by the publisher in anticipation of an honest review

Sadie Hoffmiller is looking forward to spending her favorite baking season of the year making delicious New England recipes in Boston, Massachusetts, with her favorite leading man, Pete Cunningham, as they babysit his three young grandsons. But when the boys insist that Mrs. Wapple, the woman who lives across the street, is a witch, Sadie and Pete are anxious to distract the boys from such Halloween-induced ideas. However, it gets harder and harder to explain the strange things that keep happening, particularly after Sadie learns the eccentric Mrs. Wapple has been attacked in her home. As the unexplained occurrences escalate, Sadie finds herself embroiled in yet another mystery with life-or-death consequences. Can Sadie discover whoever or whatever is behind the mystery before anyone else gets hurt? Or will this be Sadie s last case?

What a cute book!  I don't read a whole lot of cozy mysteries, but I do enjoy finding a good one that's not only part of a series, but has elements that make the story fun and engaging but unique at the same time.  In this case, there are a lot of unique factors to recommend this story- the engaging main character, Sadie, the beautiful setting (New England in autumn) and the inclusion of lots of descriptions of tasty sounding food- and recipes too!

This is not the first book in the series, and events that occurred in previous books are mentioned here, but they didn't interfere with my understanding or enjoyment of the story.  The characters, too, have some history (Sadie and Pete are contemplating taking their romantic relationship to a more serious place, as Sadie is helping to babysit Pete's grandkids- yikes!) but there isn't that sense that I as the reader missed something by picking up the series here instead of at the beginning.  If anything, it made me want to go back and hunt down the other books in the series!

If I may say so, too, a nice thing about this mystery was that some people that give us a funny feeling do that for a reason.  I feel like there are lots of times where the story is made more complicated than it needs to be to try to disguise the identity of the bad guy.  I figured out pretty quickly who the bad guy was in this case, but I was happy for that- sometimes it's nice to know that your intuition is reliable.

Have I mentioned the recipes in this book?! They all sound delicious, and all tie into the story nicely.  There's even one for the pumpkin roll that serves as the title of the book, which I will be definitely be trying as soon as possible.

This book would be a great change of pace from darker, more intense books, or a good way to jump start yourself if you're feeling the burn from a reading slump.  It's a little bit longer than other books in the cozy mystery genre, but that lent itself to more details and character development, which is a good thing in my opinion.

Overall Grade:

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop- 5 Winners and OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!

Trick or treat!  Welcome to What Book is That and thanks for participating in the giveaway hop!  If this is your first time here, I hope you'll take a look around and become a follower if you like what you see!  If you're a returning visitor, it's great to have you back!

Let's get down to the reason we're all here, shall we?  I have FIVE PRIZE PACKS up for grabs!  Per my giveaway policy, you don't have to be a follower of this blog to enter and/or win, but I'd love it if you decided to follow! 

Check out the prizes:

Prize Pack 1:

An unfinished ARC of Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes- this is one of my favorite books of 2011 so far!

Prize Pack 2:
A paperback ARC of Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong!

Prize Pack 3:

The first three books in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series- (in series order) When You Dare, Trace of Fever and Savor the Danger!

Prize Pack 4:

Two excellent titles I had the chance to review for Pocket Books- Dark Descendant by Jenna Black and Dark Taste of Rapture by Gena Showalter!

Prize Pack 5:

Just in time for Halloween, two anthologies from Edge Publishing- Rigor Amortis and Evolve 2: Vampire Stories of the Future Undead!

To enter, simply fill out the Google form below before 11:59 EST on October 31st!  I'm asking for addresses to make it easier to ship prizes to the winners and the form will be deleted after packages have shipped. I will be randomly selecting the winner for each prize pack so there's no need to rank them or anything like that. Please make sure to enter your address exactly as it would appear on a shipping label.

Good luck to all and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2011

WBiT Gets a Makeover!

Here's some fun news for a Friday- my blog makeover is complete! Lori from Imagination Blog Designs did a FANTASTIC job and I could not be happier- it's everything I'd hoped for, and I've done a lot of hoping since I decided back in August to go for a new look. I'm so in love with the little planets and, well, everything! I'll definitely be putting my new raters to use soon as well, as soon as I have a minute to write some reviews!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teaser and Excerpt: Little Did I Know

I wanted to stop by and let you know about a book I'm really enjoying so far- Little Did I Know by Mitchell Maxwell! A full review is forthcoming, but check out the synopsis and a little excerpt from the text:

Here is the story of an unforgettable summer. Set in Plymouth, MA in the late seventies, Little Did I Know is the tale of a young man with an outsized dream – to refurbish a dilapidated but historic theater and produce a season's worth of vibrant musicals. A recent college graduate, he fills his cast and crew with people he has come to love and trust in his university life, and with others whose talents and personalities prove undeniable. Yet, while the productions drive his ambitions, a local woman drives his passions, and their romance is fateful, star-crossed, and ultimately more than either of them expected. Told with with, compassion, and the kind of insider's access to the theater that only someone like Mitchell Maxwell can provide, Little Did I Know is a novel about coming of age in the spotlight and embracing one's entire future in a single season.

From the text:

This is a good plan,” James said.
            “This is a plan to believe in,” Secunda said, wearing a rare happy face.
            “Yes indeed, this appears to be a great plan. Not that I know of plans, but if I did I would have to say this is a great plan,” chimed in Elliot.
            “Say it then,” I said, “because to believe in the plan makes the plan.”
            “Who are you –Gandhi?” asked Secunda.
            “Say it,” I implored.
            In hushed, sacred tones my friends all declared, “This is a great plan.”
            We sat back, content. We had a plan.
            “I think this is a terrific plan, I really do,” JB spoke up a few moments later. “But what, exactly, is the plan?”

Just something to whet your whistle- like I said, a full review is yet to come!  If you're interested, head on over to Colloquium tomorrow for another sneak peek? Do it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leave a message at the beep.

I am up to my eyeballs in work and projects right now. Regularly scheduled programming will resume ASAP. Send margaritas and snacks at once. Oy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Lord of the Abyss

Title: Lord of the Abyss
Author: Nalini Singh
Page Count: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review obtained via NetGalley in anticipation of an honest review

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out…
As the Dark Lord who condemns souls to damnation in the Abyss, Micah is nothing but a feared monster wrapped in impenetrable black armor. He has no idea he is the last heir of Elden, its last hope. Only one woman knows—the daughter of his enemy. Liliana is nothing like her father, the Blood Sorcerer who’d cursed Micah. She sees past Micah’s armor to the prince inside. A prince whose sinful touch she craves. But first she has to brave his dark, dangerous lair and help him remember. Because they only have till midnight to save Elden.
Once upon a dark time, they were the only hope to bring their kingdom back to the light! 

I was super excited to find out that Nalini Singh was writing a book in the Royal House of Shadows series! As the author of my favorite paranormal romance series
(yeah, I think I have to finally admit that the Psy-Changeling series has edged out Immortals After Dark- sorry!) pretty much anything she writes is on my OMG-read-it-right-now list, and even though this is a separate book from any of her other series, it definitely earns its own way on the list and wraps up this series in a most excellent way.

First off, it's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast! Micah is the youngest of the Elden princes and was sent to the Abyss, where he recaptures evil souls trying to escape their yucky fate. He's resigned himself to life as a necessary evil, and when Liliana shows up, he sends her to the dungeons and tries to get on with life as the Dark Lord.

Liliana has had a crap life up until now, and she's not about to let a grumpy Micah stop her from achieving her goal. Being the Blood Sorcerer's daughter sucks, there's no doubt about it, and not being physically attractive causes its own share of problems, since she's fully aware that people think that she's less than a person but kiss her ass anyway, to make her dad happy and try to garner his favor. She is not fooled, and she knows her own worth; she has a moral code that guides every action and a beautiful spirit that shines even under the worst adversity. If anyone can save Elden, it's her, and that's a good thing, because if she doesn't get Micah to remember who he is and get him back to Elden to face the Blood Sorcerer in the last hurrah, hope is lost!

The romance is very spicy, and it was refreshing that even though there was an overarching story involving rescuing Elden and beating the clock, Micah and Liliana totally made their own decisions and did what was right according to their own beliefs. Micah's time as the Dark Lord has shaped him into a hard man, but a fair one; he encounters evil every day and knows that Liliana isn't it. Liliana has always put the needs of others above herself but like I said, she knows her own worth and understands honesty since she's had so little of it. She understands that Micah says what he means and means what he says. They're a great couple.

As enticing and enjoyable as this book was, I have to stress that you need to start with the first book in the series, Lord of the Vampires, and read in order. The stories build upon the previous installments and add elements, until this, the final showdown. This book doesn't come out until December 2011, so take that time to get caught up and be ready!

Overall Grade: A

Review: Lord of the Wolfyn

Title: Lord of the Wolfyn
Author: Jessica Andersen
Page Count: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review obtained via NetGalley in anticipation of an honest review

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden.

To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance.

Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.…

For practical Reda Weston, nothing could explain how reading a sexy version of "Little Red Riding Hood" catapulted her into another realm—face-to-fang with the legendary wolf-creature who seduced women. A wolf who transformed into a dark, virile man….

Dayn cursed the Sorcerer that turned him wolfyn and damned him to a lonely fate. As a beast, he mated with women to gain strength.

Strength he needed to rescue his royal parents. But as a man, he craved Reda's heated, sizzling touch. With little time left, Dayn had to either embrace his wolf to save his kingdom…or fight it to save his woman.

To me, it's a good sign when the weakest installment in a series is still an enjoyable book.  Lord of the Wolfyn is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and while it wasn't my favorite of the series, it was a decent enough story and kept me hooked on the series.

Reda is, frankly, a hot mess.  As a human in the world of non-magical people she's got pretty much nothing going for her- she's a police officer in limbo and a misstep on her part led to her partner being killed in a robbery.  She's reeling from the loss, from the sense that only she is surprised by her perceived failure, and all she can think of is a beautifully engraved book that tells a version of the Little Red Riding story that's familiar to us.  The book was taken from her when her mother died and her fixation seemed a little...unnatural...and she's been focused on the book ever since.

Dayn is one of the lost Elden princes and doesn't really remember anything from his life as a prince.  He's been living in secret among the Wolfyn, as they'll kill him if they find out he's anything except a bewildered traveler.  When Reda comes through the same gate that he did and evil forces from the Blood Sorcerer try to find Dayn and kill him by exposing him to the Wolfyn, all hell breaks loose and they have to run for their lives.

The story is kind of disjointed, I admit; in an effort to avoid some of the ickier parts of Little Red Riding Hood and to also address the fact that the wolf is not the good guy in that story, we have these weird, dream like sequences where Reda and Dayn have a lot of sex while trying to escape from peril.  Reda can't get over the whole thing about the book from her childhood; Dayn is not realizing the fact that it wasn't coincidence that he was flung from Elden into the land of the Wolfyn. I think trying to keep the elements of the Little Red Riding Hood story going in this story when the narrative felt like it wanted to go in a different direction kept the story from moving; Reda as well is kind of a fluff character who comes to some personal realizations that are kind of meh.  That's not the most articulate sentence I've ever written but I'm having trouble explaining my apathy to this story.

Like I said, even though I think this is the weakest installment in the story, it's still a decent book and not the worst I've ever read, and this is definitely a series where you need to read all the books and read them in order.  I probably won't revisit this story, but this is still a series definitely worth checking out.

Overall Grade: C

Friday, October 14, 2011

Working for the Weekend

Is it just me or has this week been a little zany?  I had every intention of staying on track with the review schedule from Sunday and it pretty much evaporated.  Oops!

With that said, tomorrow will be a double review day, with reviews of Lord of the Wolfyn and Lord of the Abyss, and my review of The Apocalypse Gene will go up on Sunday.  Some other projects have taken priority and things will just get shuffled around accordingly.  Flexibility is a good thing!

I don't want you to think I've been resting on my laurels, though!  First of all, I don't have any laurels, and second of all, there are a whole bunch of cool things in the works right now!  Here are just a few of them:

First, as if I need another time suck on the Internet, I am on Pinterest!  I'm currently using it to organize ideas, projects, and other things I use for my classroom, so if such things interest you, check out my page!

Speaking of, because I'm a reflective practitioner, I am in the process of setting up another blog! This one will be completely separate from this review blog, with the only common element being that I write both of them. It's called One of Us- Classroom Ideas and Adventures and will be another place where I post about activities, ideas, techniques, strategies, and inspiration that I use in my classroom. For those that don't know, I'm a special education teacher teaching elementary students with autism- my age range this year is kindergarten through fourth grade. I freely admit that I don't have anything over there right now, but it's on my to do list. I would love some followers there too, so if you're interested in teaching, autism, and other good stuff, check it out!

Another fun thing going on is that I'm starting to set up my Author Spotlights for the 2012 Authors After Dark convention in New Orleans!  I'll be reporting on the event throughout the upcoming year as an official blogger for the event, but I'll be featuring 30 different authors before the event even happens!  Get ready to discover some new authors and books!

Use Your Imagination Designs

Coming soon- a new layout and total face lift for What Book is That?! Stay tuned!

I'm also scheduling guest posts, writing guest posts (I'll be doing one on surviving the apocalypse with Moira Rogers that I'm particularly excited about,) conducting interviews, giving cool stuff away, and getting ready for the next big rumpus here at my bloggy hacienda.  Want a sneak peek?
December is a long way off, but it'll be here before you know it!

I love being busy and I believe that life is a work in progress- what are you all up to these days?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Lord of Rage

Title: Lord of Rage
Author: Jill Monroe
Page Count: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review obtained via NetGalley in anticipation of an honest review

Princess Breena had been dreaming of her warrior lover when she was ripped from her Elden castle and thrown into a strange, dangerous realm. Lost and alone, she prayed for survival and vengeance for her stolen kingdom. She found both in a woodland cottage…in a dark bear of a man.

The golden-haired beauty had eaten his food and slept in his bed when Osborn found her. Though he wanted to awaken his virgin princess to carnal pleasures, Breena wanted more—including his warrior skills. Skills the once-legendary mercenary had long buried. Now Osborn had a choice—risk his life or deny his princess her fairy-tale ending.

This is the second book in the Royal House of Shadows series and it ties with the last installment as my favorite.  Based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it's the story of Breena, Elden princess, who has to use all her magic, all her skills, and all her love to get through to Osborn, the biggest, grumpiest bear shifter and one of the last Ursan warriors.

Breena has the magical ability to insert herself into the dreams of others, and she does so innocently enough with Osborn.  She thinks it's an innocent game, and both of them are certainly into it.  She never thinks she'd ever meet him in real life, so she's definitely shocked when he turns out to be real.

Real and grumpy, as true to form, Osborn finds Breena after she's eaten the porridge and slept in the beds.  Osborn is just as shocked that Breena is real, and after so much heartbreak in his own right he isn't ready to trust enough person, especially when he's got his two younger brothers (yes, the other two bears) to take care of and raise.

Breena doesn't give up hope though, and eventually Osborn gives up fighting against her and they start fighting together.  They realize that happiness means letting go of the past and looking towards the future, and that beliefs that have sustained them for a long time might not be helpful moving forward.  There's also the small issue of their intense attraction to each other that they both enjoy acting on too. 

The books in this series are connected in that four siblings are at the center of the overall arc and the end conflict is waiting at the end of the series as opposed to the end of the individual books.  The overarching plot advances a little, but the evolution of Breena and Osborn's romance really takes center stage.  And the ending? Picture perfect.

I should also point out that each book in this series, although a little on the short side (and every book I absolutely love is on the short side as far as I'm concerned,) is only $3.99 for Kindle, so you get a great story for not a lot of money.  What could be better than that?

Overall Grade: A

Sunday, October 9, 2011

WBiT Sneak Peek (5)- Spotlight on The Royal House of Shadows!

Another week has come and gone- is anyone else getting that weird, squeezed, pre-holiday pressure cooker feeling?  I'm kind of in a perfect storm of work and home related stuff (I swear I'll clean someday) so it's nice to have blog stuff to kind of balance things out a little bit.  The last few months of the year are always so zany!

First up, a winner to announce!  The giveaway for the digital copy of State of Horror: Massachusetts has ended, and the winner is...Victoria Zubrum!  Congratulations to her, she has been contacted.  Stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future!

Moving on, this week is devoted to reviews for the remaining titles in the Royal House of Shadows series!  I was pleased as punch that the whole series was available was available via NetGalley and I've already reviewed Lord of the Vampires, the first book in the series, here on the blog.

Check out the game plan for the rest of the week:

On Monday, check out my review of Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe.  I loved this book and reading the series is worth it just for this installment- I've discovered a new author!

On Wednesday, check out my review of Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Anderson.  This reimagined Little Red Riding Hood story wasn't what I expected- tune in Wednesday to find out why!

Friday I'll be reviewing the final book in the series, Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh.  I had high hopes for this book and wasn't disappointed.

Saturday I'll be changing gears and will be reviewing The Apocalypse Gene by Suki Michele and Carlyle Clark.

It's going to be another busy week! In the meantime, check out the trailer for the Royal House of Shadows series and have a fantastic Sunday!

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